Bret Michaels Is Back, and VH1’s Got Him

BBC America preps “Outcasts,” Syfy brings back “WCG Ultimate Gamer,” Hallmark adds “Adventure” and Mel Brooks lends voice to “Oso”

Bret Michaels returns for docu-series “Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It,” starting with a half-hour special on VH1 on Monday, May 31, at 10 p.m., followed by the series premiere of “Dad Camp” at 10:30, and then returning as a series this fall.

"After Bret’s recent appendectomy and life-threatening brain hemorrhage, we’re so happy that he is on the road to recovery and coming back to VH1 in ‘Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It,’" said Jeff Olde, executive VP of original programming and production at the Viacom network.

"Bret is family to us and has always been a huge hit on the network, headlining several series and specials that have garnered record-breaking ratings and made a strong connection with our audience. We have temporarily halted production on the series with Bret’s health as our primary concern. Production will resume when it is cleared by his doctors.

“If anyone can fight off illness and get back on his feet, it’s Bret. But in the meantime, in response to the flood of well wishes the network has received from Bret’s fans, we’d like to celebrate Bret’s recovery with this sneak peak special featuring the next chapter in Bret’s story on VH1. It’s a never-before-seen look into Bret’s family life–the real center of his world from which he draws his unsinkable strength."

The show is created and executive produced by Mark Cronin and Cris Abrego for 51 Minds Entertainment ("Rock of Love," "The Surreal Life").

* * *

BBC America is co-producing the high-concept drama “Outcasts” with Kudos Film & Television (“Life on Mars,” “Hustle”) and the BBC.

Created by Ben Richards (“MI-5”), the series stars Eric Mabius (“Ugly Betty”), Liam Cunningham (“Clash of the Titans”) and Hermione Norris (“Wire in the Blood”). Also featured are Jamie Bamber (“Battlestar Galactica”), Daniel Mays (“The Bank Job”) and Amy Mason (“Torchwood”).

Eight hourlong episodes are in production in South Africa.

“Outcasts” is set in 2040 on a recently discovered planet that houses the surviving population from Earth. The series begins on the day the last known transporter from Earth arrives.

Executive producers are Jane Featherstone, Simon Crawford-Collins and Faith Penhale for Kudos and Matthew Read for the BBC.

* * *

“WCG Ultimate Gamer” returns for a second season of eight episodes on Syfy starting in August.

Produced by ITV Studios for Syfy, the show pits the top videogame players in the U.S. against each other to test their skills in a range of videogame and real-life challenges – all while they live together in a house. Only one gamer will emerge victorious to claim the title of Ultimate Gamer.

Starting today, viewers can vote online to select the 12th participant from among three finalists.

Contestants compete for $100,000 in cash, an ultimate Samsung Electronics prize package, the chance to become the face of the WCG — representing the organization at events around the world — and bragging rights as best all-around gamer.

WCG Ultimate Gamer is executive-produced by Michael Agbabian and Dwight D. Smith for ITV Studios.

* * * 

Peter Strauss, Jonathan Silverman and DeDee Pfeiffer star in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie “Jack’s Family Adventure,” premiering Saturday, July 17, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Strauss plays a modern-day cowboy – and not just any cowboy, but a Jewish cowboy – who befriends ad exec Silverman and his family when hey and his family – who are “more dependent on technology than each other,” as Hallmark puts it – visit the family cabin Silverman enjoyed as a kid.

Hallmark calls the family film “a story that reminds us it’s not how many times you fall off the horse that matters, it’s how many times you climb back in the saddle.”

"Jack’s Family Adventure" is an LG Films Production in association with Larry Levinson Productions. Larry Levinson is executive producer; Lincoln Lageson and Mary Church are producers; Randy Pope, Amanda Phillips and Michael Moran are co-executive producers. Bradford May directed from Alex Greenfield’s script.

* * *

Mel Brooks, Brad Garrett and former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz guest star in the second season of Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney series "Special Agent Oso." Starring Sean Astin as Oso, the show premieres Saturday, July 10, at 8 a.m. ET/PT, with new episodes airing weekly on Saturdays in July and August.

Garrett will voice one of two new special agent characters, Buffo the water buffalo, “a slightly clumsy and excitable inventor charged with creating all of Oso’s special agent gadgets.”

Oso also finds a new sparring partner in special agent Musa, a mysterious stuffed animal ninja.

Brooks, whose grandson is a fan of the series, guest stars as snoring Grandpa Mel, while Holtz guests as football-playing Uncle Lou.

Other guest voices will include Lisa Loeb, Rita Moreno, Ming-Na, Freddy Rodriguez and Rebecca Romijn.

The interactive series aimed at preschoolers follows Oso, a lovable but bumbling stuffed panda who works for U.N.I.Q.U.E. (United Network for Investigating Quite Usual Events), an international organization of stuffed animals charged with helping kids accomplish everyday tasks such as mailing a letter, cleaning their room or learning how to use the library.

A production of Disney Television Animation, "Special Agent Oso" airs daily at 8 a.m. ET/PT during Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney programming block.