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TV News Roundup: HBO’s March Madness Docuseries to Premiere March 1, ‘Booze Traveler’ Gets a Spinoff

Variety logo Variety 12/6/2016 Arya Roshanian
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In today’s TV news roundup, Travel Channel greenlights “Booze Traveler: Best Bars” hosted by Jack Maxwell, HBO sets a premiere date for its new unscripted series “UConn Huskies: The March to Madness” this spring, and more.

DATES

British thriller “The Level” will have its Stateside debut on streaming service Acorn TV on Monday, Dec. 12. The series stars Robert James-Collier (“Downtown Abbey”) as a copper with a secret and Karla Crome as his cop colleague who struggles while living a double life of her own.

HBO‘s newest unscripted series “UConn Huskies: The March to Madness” will debut Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. The series follows University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team as they attempt to earn a 29th berth in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament — and a fifth consecutive national championship. “UConn Huskies: The March to Madness” is executive produced by Will Staeger, Mike Antinoro and Fred Christenson, alongside Rick Bernstein for HBO. The project is a joint effort by HBO Sports and IMG’s Original Content unit.

GREENLIGHTS

Travel Channel announced the development for the new spin-off series “Booze Traveler: Best Bars.” The series will follow cocktail expert Jack Maxwell (“Booze Traveler”) on a mission to find the best bars and drinks in the United States. Production will begin in December 2016, with 10 half-hour episodes set to premiere in spring 2017.

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Roni Patel of Warner Bros. International Television Distribution has been promoted to senior vice president, sales – Nordic, Benelux and Middle East. Based in London, Patel will continue to be responsible for the licensing of products distributed by the company, including television series, feature films, made-for-television movies and animation, throughout the Nordic, Benelux, and Middle East. She reports to Robert Blair, Executive Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Nina L. Diaz, head of unscripted for MTV and VH1, has appointed a new leadership team to help assist her in unscripted development. The new team includes Eli Lehrer as head of development for MTV, Lily Neumeyer as head of development for VH1, Paul Ricci as head of alternative programming for MTV and VH1, and Andy Portnoy as head of strategic content operations for MTV and VH1. All will continue to report to Diaz under their new titles.

Yoel Flohr has joined AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios as senior vice president of franchise development. In the newly created role, Flohr will be responsible for the strategy around extending AMC-owned properties like “The Walking Dead” and “Into the Badlands.” He most recently served as the co-founder of Thirty Labs Inc., a New York-based start-up studio focused on the emerging digital video space. Flohr will report to AMC, Sundance TV, and AMC Studios president Charlie Collier.

RATINGS

The season finale of OWN‘s “Queen Sugar” delivered an audience of 2.76 million viewers in Nielsen’s L+3 ratings, and a 2.62 rating in OWN’s target demographic of women 25-54. Production on Season 2 will begin in spring 2017 for a summer debut.

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