Image Credit: Helen Sloan/HBOFrom budget-busting period epics to reality TV about extreme couponing, the vast world of basic-and-pay cable took center stage this week at the Television Critics Association midseason Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif., when the networks trot out their upcoming slate of shows for a throng of TV journalists. Here are the highlights, including all of EW’s scoopage during the TV confab:
HBO’s high anticipated Game of Thrones made a big impact, announcing its premiere date, teasing details of a fifth book in George R.R. Martin’s series, and screening 15 minutes of footage for eager TCA journos.
- Starz’s swords-and-sandals-and-blood-and-leather-codpieces epic series Spartacus will get a second season without title star Andy Whitfield, who had to withdraw from the show to resume treatment for cancer. (His replacement has yet to be cast.) The network also premiered a new trailer for the Spartacus prequel miniseries, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
- There are no plans for a second season of the TLC series Sarah Palin’s Alaska. (Dang?)
- But TLC has given its hit special Extreme Couponing a full series order. (Yay!)
- And TLC will air the one-hour special Ted Haggard: Scandalous, which follows the controversial Christian evangelical minister as he announces his new ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo. — the same town he left after he was embroiled in a gay-prostitute-and-crystal-meth scandal. (Ooo.)
- Larry Hagman is still in play for TNT’s planned reboot of Dallas.
- TV Land and ABC are teaming up for Hot in Cleveland and All My Children crossover episodes.
- E! is giving Lady Gaga‘s choreographer Laurieann Gibson her own eight-episode docuseries, produced by Ryan Seacrest.
- Discovery Channel is teaming with the Vatican for The Exorcist Files, which will recreate stories of real-life hauntings and demonic possession, based on cases investigated by the Catholic Church.
- From hunting demons to flesh-and-blood humans, Discovery also greenlit Disappeared (working title), where contestants are challenged to go “off the grid” and hide anywhere in the world from a team of investigators.
- We have an exclusive video sneak-peak at the new IFC series, Onion News Network. (Comedy intentional.)
- We also have this first look at Swing, Playboy TV’s attempt to lure male and female viewers. (Comedy unintentional?)
- This spring, A&E will debut Relapse, a spin-off of its acclaimed documentary series Intervention.
- And in Oprah news: Suze Orman will launch Money Class, her own show on Winfrey’s OWN network, likely this fall; Piers Morgan’s first guest on his new CNN primetime chat show will be the daytime doyenne; and Oprah herself wants to be very clear about one thing: Anderson Cooper “will not be the next Oprah.”