Martha Stewart, vampire bats, the end of the world, OH MY!!!

  • Monday, July 18, 2005 9:00pm
  • Life

CBS is trying to take on suburban housewives with a string of “popcorn movies” that critics love to review and people, for some reason, love to watch.

No joke, we’ve got “Martha Behind Bars,” “Mayday,” “Time Bomb,” “The Hunt for the BTK Strangler,” “Vampire Bats” and “Category 7: The End of the World” coming this fall. All of them will air on Sunday nights at 9, putting them up against ABC’s newfound stronghold of “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler called these “popcorn movies” at a presentation during the TV Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Tuesday. The disaster and retelling-the-headlines films, a la “Spring Break Shark Attack” and “Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution” have served the network well, even though they’re just awful.

But, Tassler said, “Who knew what would happen with the flurry of shark attacks in Florida just after our little shark movie?”

Asked, what’s next, Tassler said, “The sky’s the limit,” which drew a chorus of groans from the roomfull of TV critics.

The air dates for the next slate of CBS’s fiction-is-more-profitable-than-credibility string of movies is as follows:

“Martha Behind Bars,” starring Cybill Shepherd as the domestic diva, chronicles the events that led up to Stewart’s incarceration and sadly spends little time with her “behind bars.” As one critic said, “There’s the build up, the boring trial, suddenly she’s making Christmas decorations (with the ladies in prison), and that’s it.” It will air at 9 p.m. Sept. 25.

“Mayday,” starring Aidan Quinn, Charles S. Dutton, Dean Cain and Kelly Hu is a thriller based on the New York Times bestseller by Nelson DeMille, in which chaos and dewath engulf an airliner traveling from the United States to Tokyo when it is accidentally hit by a U.S. Navy test missle. It airs at 9 p.m. Oct. 2.

“The Hunt for the BTK Strangler,” is based on the true story and bizarre saga of the notorious serial killer know as the BTK killer who was found and arrested after a 31-year spree of murders in Wichita, Kansas. It airs at 9 p.m. Oct. 9.

“Time Bomb,” is a thriller about a threat received by Homeland Security during a big football game in Washington, D.C., that says the stadium is rigged to explode during the fourth quarter.

“Vampire Bats,” stars Lucy Lawless and Dylan Neal in a story about a voracious-insect specialist (sounds like a hoot, huh?), who gets get caught up in the investigation of a student who is found dead with his body completely depleted of blood and realizes that the killers are actually vampire bats that have mutated due to a tainted water supply (because, clearly, just being vampire bats wouldn’t have been enough. It airs at 9 p.m. Oct. 30. (I sense a Halloween-themed commercial!)

“Category 7: The End of the World,” should be known to the faithful readers of this blog (both of you). It’s a sequel to “Category 6: Day of Destruction,” which proves that when people say “oh, it can’t get any worse,” they’re absolutely full of it. It’s a miniseries that starts at 9 p.m. Nov. 6 and ends at the same time Nov. 13.

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