Television

AXN rolling out seven new series over next two months

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Continuing a programme push that began in April, AXN TV, the action channel from Sony Entertainment Television, is launching seven action series over the next two months, "Crime Scene Investigation", "Sheena" and the third series of VIP among them.

And in an initiative aimed at promoting the brand in Indian homes, AXN is talking to Indian production companies to evolve a programme series with purely indigenous action content.

"We're talking with leading local production companies and it is taking time. But we are optimistic that we will work something out. Especially in the area of adventure/lifestyle/sports. The interaction between SET and AXN in India has been mutually beneficial to both," says Shantonu Aditya, senior VP, (franchise channels and distribution) SET.

AXN TV had announced in April that it was concentrating on developing five areas of on-screen entertainment - action series, adventure, sports, animation and movies.

In a first for AXN, Gena Lee Nolin, the actress who plays Sheena, will be in Mumbai and Delhi between June 25 and 29, soon after the launch of the serial. The four-year old AXN has not brought a celebrity down to Asia before and it hopes for more such promotions.

AXN hopes to hit the target with Jerry Bruckheimer's blockbuster series. Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), premiering on 18 July at 9 pm. CSI, the hottest show of the 2000/2001 television season in the United States, will premier exclusively on AXN Asia, ahead of all other cable and satellite channels and terrestrial channels in the region.

Executive-produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who also produced the newly-released Pearl Harbor and other top-grossing films such as Top Gun, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, CSI was the highest-rated new drama series in the US.

"CSI pushes the envelope in terms of visual effects and cinematography. It is a '21st' century Sherlock Holmes" that presents the crime and evidence the way real-life crime scene investigators see it - a concept that's new to television audiences," said Betty Tsui AXN's VP programming & acquisition.

Accompanying CSI's entry into Asia on AXN in July are four new series, including the critically-acclaimed Now & Again (launching Tuesday, 17 July, 9pm), Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films Awards 2000's Best Television Network series award winner Seven Days (Friday, 20 July, 9pm); Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's fourth season of Earth: Final Conflict (Monday, 16 July, 9pm) and Golden Globe nominee Lorenzo Lamas' The Immortal (Thursday, 19 July, 9pm).

According to Gregory Ho, VP (marketing) AXN Asia, a half-yearly revamp and introduction of new programmes is a tradition at AXN, reflecting commitment to the viewers. "We will have to compete with other channels for the time of the viewer, especially in markets like India, where channel loyalty has not taken root."

AXN Asia is available to more than 22 million households 24-hours daily throughout Asia in India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, South Korea, Macau, Papua New Guinea, and in hotels and VIP compounds in China. AXN channels operate in Japan, Israel and Latin America, and will continue to launch more channels worldwide, according to a company release.

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