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CBS' pulled 'Armed & Famous' reality series resurfacing on VH1


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/30/2007 

It didn't take too long for CBS' recently pulled Armed & Famous reality series to find a new home.  

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One business day after CBS pulled the series from its own broadcast schedule, VH1 has announced that it plans to broadcast four episodes of the series that previously aired on CBS, as well as one unaired episode, during a five-hour Armed & Famous marathon on Saturday, February 3 beginning at 5PM ET/PT, according to an article published in Tuesday's edition of The Star Press.  The previously unaired episode will be shown at 9PM ET/PT.

While Armed & Famous had been intended to run for seven episodes, only four appeared on CBS before it was pulled from its Wednesdays at 8PM time slot due to its taking a ratings beat-down from the sixth season of Fox's American Idol

"If the producers deliver to us the sixth and seventh episodes of the show, then we will air them," a VH1 spokesman told The Star Press, the local newspaper for the Muncie, IN city in which Armed & Famous filmed, on Monday.  "As of now, it's unclear whether they are finishing them or not."

Chris Ender, senior vice president of communications for CBS, told the newspaper that the network "has not technically canceled the series," which follows five D-list celebrities as they work their way through police training and find themselves on patrol in Muncie, a city of nearly 70,000 residents located 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

"The official term is hiatus, which is a fancy, Hollywood phrase for a show that's been pulled from the schedule and does not yet have a planned return date," Ender told The Star Press.  He added the decision to place Armed & Famous on hiatus "simply came down to the ratings.  The premiere performed well, but going up against American Idol just proved to be too tall a task for the program."

Ender also told The Star Press that CBS has "not ruled out" the possibility of running the three unaired episodes of the series on the network at a later date, but until that decision is made, VH1 is the only place for viewers to get their Armed & Famous fix.  Following this Saturday's marathon, the cable network will run the series first five episodes again beginning at 12PM ET/PT on Wednesday, February 7.

"I can't say I was completely surprised, given what it was going up against," Muncie Police Department Chief Joe Winkle told The Star Press, referring to Armed & Famous' competition with Idol. "But the fact they're saying it's canceled doesn't change why we did it, or the fact that many of us enjoyed being a part of this show."

Winkle said "he'd been happy with the way his department was portrayed in episodes of the series thus far," and added he doesn't believe that the series' getting pulled would result in CBS retracting its gift of three Hummers for the police force. "That'd kind of be like them taking back a Christmas present, now wouldn't it?" he joked to The Star Press.

While The Star Press also reported VH1 and CBS are owned by the same parent company, that's not technically accurate anymore. Last year, Viacom split itself into two two publicly traded entities, CBS Corporation, the new name adopted by the original Viacom, and "new" Viacom.  The "new" Viacom includes all of MTV Networks properties (MTV, VH1, CMT, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and numerous other networks), BET and Paramount Pictures while CBS Corporation includes many of the former media conglomerate's slower growing entities like CBS, CBS Radio, Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Television. 

The companies do, however, still work together, and Armed & Famous does seem to be a natural and obvious fit with VH1's "Celebreality" programming lineup.

VH1 officials told The Star Press there is no way of knowing yet whether the cable network would order production on a second season of Armed & Famous.  "It's just too soon to tell something like that," a VH1 spokesman told the newspaper.

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