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TNN goes 'Pop'

Friday, January 19, 2001

Rob Owen, Post-Gazette

Remember how TNN used to stand for The Nashville Network? A few years ago it dumped its country roots and sought to attract a younger, predominantly male audience with ECW Wrestling and "RollerJam." That's all in the past.

Rechristened The National Network, TNN is going after a broad-based audience of young viewers, male and female. And it's using a new slogan, "We've Got Pop," to brand itself as "the first pop entertainment network," according to general manager Diane Robina.

"I know everyone thinks of [the wrestling show] 'Raw is War' as a male vehicle, and it is, but there are a tremendous amount of women watching and we want to appeal to them as much as we appeal to their male counterparts," Robina said. "We're after all adults."

In addition to the WWF programs, TNN is adding a series about a woman cook called "Adventure Chef."

TNN also has what looks like one of the most promising original summer series in "Small Shots," which features two Internet filmmakers traveling the country and auditioning regular folks to star in movie parodies. The half-hour pilot features the making of "Non-Violent Gladiator," a hilarious parody of Russell Crowe's "Gladiator."

Creators Chris Cox and Matt Sloan, who created the Internet film "Swing Blade" (a parody of "Swingers" and "Sling Blade"), said other planned spoofs include "Amish Matrix," "Cast Away 2: Wilson, I Love You" and "Charlie's Middle-aged Angels" starring soccer moms.

TNN will revamp its daytime lineup Monday, adding back-to-back episodes of "WKRP in Cincinnati" (9 a.m.), "Newhart" (10 a.m.), "The Wonder Years" (11 a.m.) and "Taxi" (12 p.m.). In the afternoon, "The Rockford Files" (2 p.m.), "Picket Fences" (3 p.m.) and a movie from 4 to 6 p.m. "Miami Vice" will air weekdays at 7 p.m.

Reruns of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager" begin airing this fall. Reruns of Pamela Anderson Lee's "V.I.P." will begin airing in fall 2002.

TNT PLANS FOR CHRISTMAS: Whoopi Goldberg will star in "Call Me Claus," a movie made for TNT that will be produced by singer/songwriter Garth Brooks.

Goldberg will play a television producer who gets selected by Santa Claus to take over his duties. Sir Nigel Hawthorne, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Victor Garber also star in the film, which will air late this year.

COURT TV: Celebrities better behave. Court TV will begin airing a weekly series called "Hollywood at Large" (5 p.m. Fridays starting Feb. 16) about crime and justice in popular culture, including the latest celebrity lawsuits, contracts and clashes with the law. Court TV will also introduce a new program, "Catherine Crier Live," covering legal news of the day. It will air Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m. beginning Feb. 12.

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