- The Washington Times - Monday, May 28, 2007

‘Cops’ expands reach

There’s a new answer to the question “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?”

We’re gonna call the “Cops” on you.

Beginning today on cable’s G4, fans of “Cops,” TV’s long-running “gotcha” series, will be able to participate in an array of interactive features during the venerable reality show, TVWeek.com reports.

Viewers of what the network is calling “Cops 2.0” will be able to chat with other fans, answer trivia questions about the chase as it takes place and get additional information about law enforcement, legal procedures and cop lingo while watching the show.

The features will be available today when G4 begins airing “Cops 2.0” weeknights at 6.

“Adding interactive elements to a robust franchise such as ‘Cops’ is the perfect recipe for keeping G4’s young male audience interested and involved,” said G4 President Neal Tiles. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities to extend a similar level of interactivity to other programming throughout the G4 lineup.”

The network is already airing interactive versions of “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” says TVWeek.com.

“G4’s rendition of ‘Cops 2.0’ is an exciting new addition to our franchise,” said John Langley, executive producer and creator of the TV series. “The interactivity is particularly appropriate because it gives younger viewers a fresh opportunity to walk in the shoes of law enforcement personnel.”

Traditional episodes of “Cops” will continue to air on Fox and Court TV.

AMC may get ‘Bad’

AMC’s hot drama pilot “Breaking Bad” is close to getting a series pickup by the network, notes the Hollywood Reporter.

“Bad,” from Sony Pictures Television and feature producer Mark Johnson, stars Bryan Cranston as a chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, uses his skills to start up a meth lab in order to make money quickly and provide for his wife and handicapped son.

Former “The X-Files” executive producer Vince Gilligan wrote and directed the pilot, which has been enjoying strong buzz in the creative community.

Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and Betsy Brandt co-star in the project, which is executive produced by Mr. Johnson.

AMC representatives didn’t return calls or e-mails seeking comment last week, says the Hollywood Reporter. A spokeswoman for SPT also declined comment.

“Bad” is part of AMC’s big push into the scripted-series arena.

Last year, AMC picked up its first original drama series, the Lionsgate-produced “Mad Men,” which is set to debut in July. In January, it announced a development deal for an hourlong untitled Western pilot from Walter Hill (director of AMC’s first original movie, “Broken Trail,” which broke cable ratings records last June) and Ron Parker.

AMC also is co-producing a remake of the 1960s sci-fi series “The Prisoner” with the U.K.’s Granada and Sky One that debuts next year. It also signed a co-production deal with BBC last year for the drama “Hustle,” which recently had its fourth-season premiere on AMC.

New Jim J. on the way

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s World of Wonders Prods. is developing three reality-series projects centered on strong personalities, TVWeek.com reports.

“We’ve become big enough as a production company with the resources to be aggressive in finding real-life characters” who could succeed in a multi-episode series, said Mr. Barbato, whose World of Wonders produces such series as “Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter” for WE and “Tori & Dean: Inn Love” for Oxygen.

“Allison Margolin: The Dopest Attorney in Town,” the first of the new development, deals with a Los Angeles lawyer who specializes in medical-marijuana cases while working for her family’s practice, which includes her mother, stepfather and ex-stepfather.

The second, “Beauty School Dropout,” focuses on the actor Jim J. Bullock (“Too Close for Comfort,” “The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show”) as he charts a second career as the would-be owner of a hair salon. Mr. Bullock will allow the cameras to follow him as he advances in beauty school and applies for a license to manage a beauty shop.

Jeffree Star, a 20-year-old cross-dresser with pink hair who has 550,000 friends on MySpace, is the focus of the third, to be called “Jeffree Star.” Mr. Bailey calls Mr. Star a “digital polymath,” who writes and performs his own songs and has become the opening act for Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors summer tour. The tour comes to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md. on June 16.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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