By Shirley Brady The busiest cable network this month has to be TBS—correction, "tbs." The Turner-owned net is dropping "Superstation" from its moniker, lower-casing its on-air logo and giving itself a new tag line ("tbs very funny") and a multimillion dollar rebranding. The upshot for affiliates: TBS wants to be the TV home page for humor, much in the way that sister net TNT positions itself as the best in drama. TBS’ new angle is intended to boost ratings—a goal for any network. But, in terms of cable affiliates, it should help drive ad sales at the national and local level. Affiliates can take advantage of TBS’ repositioning to attract local ad-sales clients. Its local ad-sales promotion touting the addition of Sex and the City to the lineup starting June 15 includes local prize packages that include $750 gift certificates and one-year subscriptions to Time Warner’s In Style magazine. The network’s contribution to the still-hot home makeover genre, House Rules, also is being made over to be—yep—funnier in tone and more consistent with the rest of the network’s programming. The plan, says TBS EVP Steve Koonin, is to have the revamped show premiere on Saturday mornings this fall, making it more relevant for weekend DIYers and a natural for local ad sales. The network’s focus on broad humor—TBS is leaving the edgy jokes to Comedy Central—was previewed last month at Turner’s upfront presentation in New York. That focus, revealed to viewers June 4, includes tongue-in-cheek promos set in a fictitious call center where inquiries are put to the "funny or not?" test. The loopier characters from its lineup of A-list comedies, such as Janice from Friends and George Costanza’s mother from Seinfeld, pop up behind the customer service reps. The agenda for this on-air commotion is to promote the on-air programming, of course. Viewers will see a slightly de-sexed Sex and the City on Tuesday and Wednesday nights starting June 15. The "refreshed" SATC episodes more than stand up on their Manolo Blahnik shoes to the raunchier original HBO series. Yes, it’s every bit as funny—and no, Samantha doesn’t disappear altogether (although Samantha in the altogether is another matter). Joining Carrie and Co. later this summer are Everybody Loves Raymond and Yes, Dear, bolstering the network’s other sitcoms such as Home Improvement. TBS’ slate of original comic reality series rounds out its new prime-time persona. First up: Outback Jack on June 22, which sends a dozen city gals not unlike Ms. Bradshaw and her girlfriends to the Australian outback to compete for the affections of a rugged Aussie named Vadim. Original reality series are in the pipeline, including a Manhattan-based show led by SATC creator Candace Bushnell, and a real-life Gilligan’s Island with contestants playing the series’ characters as they compete to get off an island. TBS has some comedic pilots in the works: All American Male puts straight guys in drag to help them understand their womenfolk better, while The Mansion gives seven DIYers seven weeks to remodel a crumbling manse—but only one gets to keep the keys to the castle. In an election year with Iraq on every news channel, such programming tactics could give comic relief to viewers and advertisers alike. June Programming Highlights Here’s a sampling of more original content headed to cable this month, with indications for public affairs or community outreach opportunities (PA), Cable in the Classroom usefulness (CIC), local ad sales opportunities (LAS) and family-friendly content (FF). 6/7 Return to Titanic (National Geographic Channel, 9 p.m. ET/PT) Dr. Robert Ballard leads an expedition to the Titanic’s watery grave—almost two decades after discovering the sunken wreck. This special mixes live and pretaped footage. FF, CIC, LAS, PA 6/7 Unconventional Births (Discovery Health Channel, through June 12) Annual Baby Week goo-goo-fest includes a look at babies born underwater. LAS, FF, PA 6/7 The Daily Download (Fuse, 6 p.m. ET) New countdown show of top 10 song downloads; viewers can access and download the tunes for free. FF 6/7 House Hunters (HGTV, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT) Weeklong "Summer Block Party" takes the road every night through Friday. FF 6/7 Perfect Romance (Lifetime, 8 p.m. ET/PT) Kathleen Quinlan stars in this original movie that follows a weekend of wedding-themed programming. FF, LAS 6/8 BIG! (Discovery Channel, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT) Original series dreams up larger-than-life creations. This week: a 22-foot-tall popcorn popper. FF, CIC, LAS 6/8 Blow Out (Bravo, 9 p.m. ET) Reality show about a Beverly Hills hair salon. Clean, catty fun. LAS 6/9 I Wanna Date a Race Car Driver (Speed Channel, 9 p.m. ET) Speed’s first reality series—and a dating one at that. LAS (think NASCAR), FF 6/11 Good Girls Don’t (Oxygen, Fridays 9 p.m. ET/PT) Oxygen’s first scripted half-hour comedy from the sitcom mavens at Carsey-Werner-Mandabach. FF (if your family walks around naked) 6/12 King Solomon’s Mines (Hallmark Channel, 5 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. ET encore) Patrick Swayze stars in a remake of H. Rider Haggard’s classic novel. FF 6/12 Jane Goodall’s State of the Great Ape (Animal Planet, 8 p.m. ET) World-renowned primatologist on the crisis facing chimps, gorillas, orangutans and other primates in this special; a must-see for families and students. CIC, FF, LAS, PA 6/15 Joe Schmo 2 (Spike TV, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.) Joe’s back, and this time there’s also a Jane Schmo. If JS2 is as big-hearted as season one, Spike could have another hit on its hand. FF? 6/16 Into Character (AMC, 10 p.m. ET/PT) Movie buffs act out their favorite scenes. Premium and SVOD subs should eat this up. FF 6/18 Confessions of the Crocodile Hunter (Animal Planet, 9 p.m. ET/PT) Croc Hunter Steve Irwin caps off Croc Week (June 14-18) with an up close and personal special. Good thing it’s nowhere near Discovery Health’s Baby Week. FF? 6/19 Revolution (Sundance Channel, 9 p.m. ET) World premiere of comedian Margaret Cho’s new movie is just one of the highlights of Sundance’s monthlong "Out Loud" Gay Pride-related on-air film fest. PA, CIC (high school) 6/20 Jack (Showtime, 8 p.m. ET/PT) Like Sundance, Showtime is offering Gay Pride Month programming. Jack, an original movie for all ages, is about a 15 year old whose father is gay. FF, PA, CIC 6/20 Salem’s Lot (TNT, 8 p.m. 6/20-21) Two-part original movie based on the Stephen King novel, starring Rob Lowe, Donald Sutherland and Rutger Hauer. LAS 6/20 Quest for King Arthur (History Channel, 9 p.m. ET/PT) Patrick Stewart narrates this investigation into the mythic King of Camelot. FF, CIC, LAS 6/20 Table Talk: How Far Is Too Far? (WAM!, 8 p.m.) This episode of the award-winning original series, in which real families talk about the national indecency debate, is being offered free to affiliates and educators. FF, PA, CIC 6/21 Pride (A&E, 9 p.m.) Original movie about lions in the wild mixing live action and animation. Features the voices of Brit actors Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane and Helen Mirren. FF, LAS 6/21 Greetings From DIY (DIY Network, 3:30 p.m. ET) New series for the red-hot scrapbooking phenomenon. LAS, FF 6/23 Sacred Space (Familynet, 7 p.m. ET) Academy Award-winning actress Linda Hunt hosts this doc about places of worship on the Eastern seaboard. FF, PA 6/30 World Poker Tour Championship (Travel Channel, 9 p.m.) Get ’em while Texas Hold ‘Em is still holding on. LAS

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