Ray Richmond

Get ready for TV's reality onslaught

THE REAL DEALS Judging from its development slate, UPN may want to change its name to the Unscripted Programming Network. After doing bang up business in October with the shockumentary specials ”World’s Nastiest Neighbors” and ”Cheating Spouses Caught on Tape” (both originally developed at Fox), the netlet is stockpiling reality series for 2001.

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Charlie Sheen helps ''Spin City'''s ratings improve

Charlie Sheen

FAT ‘CITY’ So much for those naysayers who predicted that ABC’s ”Spin City” would tank as soon as Michael J. Fox vacated the premises. With reformed bad boy Charlie Sheen anchoring the cast for the show’s fifth season, the DreamWorks comedy is – hold on to your leopard skin rugs – actually improving on its numbers from last year.

In each of its first five airings this season, ”City” won its tough Wednesday night time period (opposite NBC’s ”The West Wing”) among 18 to 34 year olds.

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Peta Wilson may star in a new crime drama

Peta Wilson

It’s drama development time again, which means the networks are desperately combing through scripts to find those precious few that deserve a greenlight. Although it’s still early in the game, the good news is: no more feeble ”X-Files” clones among the pitches.

The bad news: A lot of stuff sounds like lukewarm ”Erin Brockovich.” Some highlights: NBC is looking at not one, but two projects that focus on a ”Brockovich”esque lead.

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MTV's ''Jackass'' is cable's top new show

Johnny Knoxville

‘JACKASS’ DANDY You better sit down for this, Joe Lieberman: MTV’s new Spike Jonze cocreated series, ”Jackass,” featuring bad boy du jour Johnny Knoxville (who just nabbed $1 million to star as a lumberjack/ trucker in the movie comedy ”Tree”) – is emerging as the highest rated new entertainment series on cable this year, trumping such fledgling shows as the Howard Stern produced ”Son of the Beach” and TNT’s much touted ”Bull.” Even more shocking, since debuting Oct.

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