Fall cable shows offer originality

Roger Daltrey, 'Buff Brides' are quirky TV alternatives

The new cable shows for the rest of the year offer everything from Roger Daltrey retracing the steps of Lewis and Clark, literally, to a reality show following brides to their fitness goals.

One by one, the new cable shows have unfolded, from a show in which women pick their men according to his bachelor pad (HGTV's "Date by Design") to Daltrey climbing rocks -- with one arm -- for A&E;'s "Extreme History."

One unusual show is "Carnivale," an HBO series partly filmed in the old Western town at Paramount Ranch, on the outskirts of Agoura Hills, Calif.

"Carnivale," spelled intentionally with the extra "e" and pronounced car-nih-vahl, is about Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl), a chain-gang fugitive who is wanted for murder. Hawkins joins a traveling carnival, where he finds himself reconnected with his supernatural powers.

Cable's innovation extends to its flirtation with the reality genre, often divided into dating shows and makeovers. HGTV is combining both genres into "Date with Design," in which women pick the men they want to date without seeing them first.

A single woman looks at three bachelor pads and picks one of them to redecorate. The bachelor comes home to his new surroundings and maybe a new love interest.

The History Channel is trying to jazz up its programming a bit with "Extreme History with Roger Daltrey." In this one, the Who singer re-enacts moments such as the exploration by Lewis and Clark.

What else is coming:

    photo

    Gloria Reuben, left, as no-nonsense FBI investigator Brooke Haslett, and Caterina Scorsone as Jess Mastriani appear in a scene from Lifetime's "1-800-MISSING." The series premiered at 9 p.m. Saturday.

  • "1-800-Missing" is a Lifetime series about Jess Mastriani (Caterina Scorsone), a young girl who can find missing people, provided she and FBI agent Brooke Haslett (Gloria Reuben of "The Agency" and "ER") can figure out the clues in the girl's dreams. The series premieres Aug. 2, and the episodes will end with the real phone numbers to help searches for missing people.
  • The History Channel is tracing the evolution of NASA's Mission Control in "Failure Is Not An Option," which premieres Aug. 24.
  • The Discovery Health Channel is providing "Buff Brides," based on the book of the same name by Sue Fleming. The series follows more than 20 brides as they slim down for that sprint toward the altar.

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