At its upfront presentation on Tuesday (May 12), A&E announced a busy slate of upcoming programming development that includes a Western miniseries from Kevin Costner and a drama pilot from Jerry Bruckheimer.

On the unscripted side, A&E is also getting into the pilot business with Bob Saget, Russell Simmons and Shaquille O’Neal.

The Western from Oscar winner Costner, is being developed as a four-hour, two-part miniseries to be written by Jon Baird, Chris Baird and Keith Quinn and produced by Costner and Armyan Bernstein. The project focuses on the expansion and development of the American West after the Civil War. Costner, who earned his Western bona fides on "Dancing with Wolves" and "Open Range," may direct a segment of the untitled Western.

A&E has greenlit the Bruckheimer produced drama "Cooler Kings," described as a surf-noir crime show about an ex-cop exploring the dark criminal underbelly of Honolulu. Tristan Patterson ("The Electric Slide") wrote the script.

Also in scripted development at A&E is "The Lead Sheet," a period Los Angeles crime drama from Shawn Ryan ("The Shield) and James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential"), the LAPD dramas "Central Division" and "The Quickening," the NYPD dramas "Night Falls" and "NY's Finest" and an untitled FBI drama from Matthew Carnahan ("Dirt") and Anthony LaPaglia ("Without a Trace"). That's a lot of potential crime dramas from A&E.

In addition, A&E has set a June 23 premiere date for the second season of "The Cleaner," starring Benjamin Bratt. Announced guest stars for the season include Whoopi Goldberg, Shirley Jones, Gary Cole, Rebecca Gayheart, Lori Petty, Tyler James Williams and more.

A&E had previously announced reality shows following the lives of Tony Danza, Steven Seagal, and M.C. Hammer, plus the OCD series "Obsessed. Also on tap are "Fugitive Chronicles," "The Squad: Prison Police" and "Runaway Squad." 

Plus, new seasons are on the way for "Intervention," "The First 48," "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels," "Dog the Bounty Hunter," "Crime 360," "Criss Angel Mindfreak," "Paranormal State," "Manhunters" and "Parking Wars." 

In development are pilots for "The Love Shaq" (about Shaquille O'Neal), Bob Saget on America" (with Saget traveling the country checking out various subcultures) and the self-explanatory "American Mogul: Russell Simmons."

That's a lot of A&E announcements, right? Well, things are just that busy at A&E.

"2009 begins our sixth year of consecutive growth in all key demos," says Bob DeBitetto, president and general manager of A&E and BIO, "We’ve begun 2009 with our best quarter ever and I expect that we will continue to excel as a result of our significant investment in original programming. A&E truly gives advertisers the greatest depth of original programming, a portfolio that’s unparalleled in the cable landscape."

 

 

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