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Thursday, January 8, 2009

A&E reality show has cops chasing ghosts

Who you gonna call? How about 911?

A&E is seeking to one-up Sci Fi's "Ghost Hunters" with a new series that blends paranormal investigation with law enforcement.

The network has greenlit a new unscripted series called "Paranormal Cops," about a group of Chicago police officers who moonlight as ghost chasers in their spare time.

Given the team's law enforcement credentials, the format seeks to add a new layer of credibility to an increasingly popular reality TV genre which has featured ghost hunting teams founded by professional plumbers, college students and academics.

Ghostbusters1 The police group includes four officers, two tech assistants and a "medium." The ghost-chasing group existed before the show's producers came along, a network spokesman said, and the officers' various departments have approved the venture.

" 'Paranormal Cops' is the perfect marriage of A&E’s successful crime and justice genre with our blossoming paranormal programming that documents real-life accounts of bona fide paranormal investigators," said Robert Sharenow, senior vp nonfiction and alternative programming at A&E. "

A&E also announced a third season of its similar show, "Paranormal State," which features a group of Penn State University college students. "Cops" is tentatively slated to premiere this year.

The ghost-hunting genre shows no signs of slacking on cable, with ratings continuing to grow for several shows. In addition to the A&E's ramp-up, Sci Fi recently ordered a new "Ghost Hunters" spinoff.

“Paranormal Cops” is produced by North South Productions for A&E. Charlie Debevoise, Mark Hickman Robert Sharenow and Elaine Frontain Bryant are executive producers.

RELATED: Sci Fi orders "Ghost Hunters" spinoff