BC-TV-BRIEFS:ZP – entertainment (1290 words)

Television news briefs

(EDITORS: Credit story to Zap2it.com, not Knight Ridder/Tribune or Knight Ridder Newspapers)

Zap2it.com

(KRT)

Maybe your boyfriend snores. Or your girlfriend has taken all the available shelf space in the bathroom. Or she cracks her knuckles. Or he leaves dirty dishes on the coffee table.

Bravo knows how you feel. And it’s devised a scorecard to help determine which of you is less annoying.

That’s the premise of “Things I Hate about You,” a relationship series debuting on the NBC-owned cable network Tuesday, July 20. Couples in established relationships agreed to let themselves be filmed, with an eye toward exposing the little tics that drive their partners to distraction.

“This show takes an honest look at couples in long-term relationships,” co-executive producer Aliyah Silverstein says. “Most reality shows are just about courtship, but there is a fantastic, hilarious pattern of interaction between partners that develops over years together. I imagine that there will be a lot of couples at home watching, laughing and saying ‘you do that too.”‘

Hosted by “Daily Show” alum Mo Rocca and based on a British series, “Things I Hate” will follow couples in and out of their homes. Each partner makes up a list of bothersome habits the other has, and the cameras are set up to record them.

Rocca then watches the footage with each couple, who must either acknowledge their quirks or defend their actions. Separately, Food Network sidekick/author Jacqui Malouf and a panel of snarky judges watch the couple interact and award points based on level of annoyance.

The “winner” gets a nice prize for his or her ability to be less irksome than the “loser,” who earns some negative reinforcement aimed at breaking bad habits.

“Couples in long-term relationships exposing their pet peeves is always going to provide great drama and great fun,” says executive producer Amanda Murray, who also produced the British version of “Things I Hate. “But always at the heart of this show is the profile of a long-term relationship.”



“24,’ “ARRESTED; PRODUCERS STICK WITH FOX

Imagine TV, which has produced FOX’s most reliable drama for the past few seasons and its most critically lauded comedy last year, is staying within the News Corp. family.

The production company headed by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer has signed a new two-year agreement with 20th Century Fox TV, extending a partnership that began in 2000. Fox has an option to extend the deal for two more years when it expires in 2006. David Nevins, president of Imagine TV, has also signed a new contract to stay with the company.

Imagine produces “24,” which enters its fourth season in January, and “Arrested Development,” recently picked up for a second year, both of which air on 20th TV’s corporate sibling FOX. The company also has two new series on FOX – the summer sitcom “Quintuplets” and “The Inside,” a drama scheduled for a January premiere.

“It’s been a very fulfilling partnership for everybody at the studio,” 20th TV president Dana Walden tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Imagine is a company that complements us in terms of the type of shows we like to develop and the kinds of shows we are proud to produce.”

In addition to the four current series, Imagine is also working to develop a comedy with Alicia Silverstone, who has a talent deal with the company and 20th Century Fox. Imagine produced her short-lived NBC series “Miss Match” last season.



SHOWTIME LINES UP NOYCE, JOHNSON TO DIRECT PILOTS

Showtime has lined up some well-respected behind-the-camera talent for two drama series it’s developing.

Philip Noyce (“The Quiet American”) has signed on to direct the pilot for a show about two brothers from writer Blake Masters. Clark Johnson (“The Shield”), meanwhile, will helm the pilot for a terrorism drama called “The Cell,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Masters project, formerly titled “Southie,” tracks the parallel lives of two brothers living on opposite sides of the law: One is a gangster, the other a rising politician. The pilot will be relatively rare TV gig for Noyce, whose credits include “Clear and Present Danger,” “Rabbit-Proof Fence” and “Dead Calm.”

He also directed the pilot for Fox’s “Tru Calling” last season.

“The Cell,” written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (“Bulletproof Monk”), follows an ex-con whom the FBI recruits to infiltrate a terrorist sleeper cell.

Johnson, who earned an Emmy nomination for directing the pilot episode of “The Shield,” has extensive TV-directing experience, including episodes of “The Wire,” “The West Wing” and “Homicide,” in which he also co-starred. He also directed last year’s feature “S.W.A.T.”



SHARPTON TAKES ‘JOB’ WITH SPIKE

The Rev. Al Sharpton – activist, minister, one-time presidential candidate – is adding “reality show star” to his rather varied resume.

Sharpton will serve as “the ultimate career counselor and motivational coach” in a Spike TV series called “I Hate My Job,” scheduled for a fall debut. The show will follow eight men who chuck the jobs they disdain and get three months to go after the kind of work they’ve dreamed of doing.

“I fully support the message of this show: If you hate your job and want a change, get up and do it,” Sharpton says. “And I look forward to guiding these neophytes on a successful and enriching career path.”

Each episode will feature Sharpton and psychologist Stephanie Raye (TLC’s “Date Patrol”) offering guidance and weekly assignments to the men in pursuit of their dream jobs. They will also be part of a panel that determines whether the guys deserve to continue receiving their help.

“Reverend Sharpton came from a modest upbringing and became a major political force and presidential candidate,” says Kevin Kay, head of programming and production at Spike TV. “He’s lived the American Dream, so he’s the perfect person for our eight contestants to learn from.”

Sharpton mounted a campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination earlier this year, although he failed to win many votes in the primaries and eventually gave his support to presumptive nominee John Kerry. The long-time New York political activist has also run for the U.S. Senate and mayor of New York City while leading the National Action Network, a civil-rights group.

He’s no stranger to television, either. In addition to frequent talk-show appearances, Sharpton hosted “Saturday Night Live” late last year and has had talks with CNBC about an on-air role.



POKER GOES (ALMOST) LIVE ON FOX SPORTS

You can find poker on a lot of TV channels these days, but the games you see have taken place long before they hit the air.

Fox Sports Net aims to change that with what it’s billing as the first live telecast of a poker tournament, scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.

“There’s no doubt that poker has gained tremendous momentum as a television product in the last year,” FSN’s head of production and programming, George Greenberg, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Our hope with this live telecast is to capture the high-stakes drama and tension every poker player experiences as it occurs.”

“The American Poker Championship” will feature the final table of a three-day no-limit hold ‘em tournament at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Oneida, N.Y. The “live” billing isn’t entirely accurate; FSN will air the four-hour broadcast on a five-minute delay to allay fears that a player might use the TV coverage to cheat.

Rather than the hole-card cameras used on other poker shows, such as the Travel Channel’s “World Poker Tour” and Bravo’s “Celebrity Poker Showdown,” Fox Sports says it will employ a computerized card reader for the live show. The cable network says the system will allow for “instantaneous onscreen card identification.”



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AP-NY-06-29-04 1643EDT



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