Return to Paradise: CBS and Selleck expand Jesse Stone saga

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Sheila Busteed / TV Media

RETURN TO PARADISE: The man with the legendary mustache is proving that he's still a prime property for prime time.

While CBS has been keeping him busy as a star of "Blue Bloods," actor Tom Selleck has also stayed active in his popular side-project as a different top cop. He'll return as police chief Jesse Stone when the network airs "Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt" on Sunday, May 20.

This will be the eighth small-screen release within the telefilm series, which started in 2005 with "Stone Cold."

As with all of the previous titles, Selleck will star as the title character and also serve as an executive producer for "Benefit of the Doubt." Michael Brandman is back on board as the other executive producer, and the two men share writing credits for the new title, just as they did for four of the others in the franchise. The "Jesse Stone" novels were created by the late Robert B. Parker in a series of novels, which Brandman has continued since Parker's passing. "Jesse Stone: Thin Ice" (2009), however, was penned by Selleck himself.

In this new release, Stone is struggling to regain his position as police chief in Paradise, Mass., and is also confronted with a mound of confusing evidence and clues connected to a mob-related double murder.

In "Benefit of the Doubt," Selleck is rejoined by Kathy Baker, Kohl Sudduth, Stephen McHattie, William Devane, William Sadler, Gloria Reuben and Saul Rubine, who have all appeared in the telefilms before. Newcomers Robert Carradine (1984's "Revenge of the Nerds") and Jeff Geddis ("Being Erica") join the cast for "Benefit of the Doubt."

Selleck has had a long and successful career and is probably best known for starring in "Magnum, P.I." However, he's done many memorable guest arcs in other series, including "Friends," "Boston Legal" and "The Closer."


GOD'S NEW GAME: For those who have ever searched for a way to make church studies more fun, GSN is offering a solution.

The cabler recently announced it has begun production for "The American Bible Challenge," a new game show that tests contestants' knowledge of the Holy Book and celebrates its impact on American culture.

While the winner won't be given a free pass into heaven, the individual will go home with prize money to benefit his or her faith community.

The game show's premiere date has yet to be released.

RelativityREAL's Tom Forman and Embassy Row's Michael Davies will be executive producers of the game show, with Nick Stuart and Maura Dunbar of Odyssey Networks serving as consulting producers.

"This is going to be a really fun project that Bible enthusiasts will love," said Dunbar. "It's an opportunity to celebrate the Bible, share stories of faith and make a hugely entertaining show that will appeal to a large segment of the population."

Forman brings a lot of TV success to the table, having already won two Emmys and two People's Choice Awards for his work as executive producer of the family-friendly ABC series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." He's also developed such cable hits as "Little Chocolatiers," "Cellblock 6: Female Lock Up" and "Police Women of Maricopa County" and its three spinoffs.

Davies has been behind many hit shows as well, including "The Glee Project," "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and "Wife Swap."

"'The American Bible Challenge' celebrates America's passion for the Bible in an entertaining, unconventional format that makes the Good Book more accessible to the whole family," said GSN's Amy Introcaso-Davis. "We have assembled a first-rate producing team and we're looking forward to this timely concept coming to fruition."

Those interested in participating can email


PROFITABLE PROPERTY: The global financial crisis and America's soft real estate market have encouraged a curious trend to develop in recent years: house flipping. And cable television has been along for the ride for years, nurturing this new industry and turning successful flippers into celebrities.

Spike hopped on the bandwagon with "Flip Men" last year, and the new show has proven to be so popular that the network has already signed on for a second season, mere weeks after the Season 1 finale episode aired.

The cabler has placed an order for 12 new episodes, which will send flippers Doug Clark and Mike Baird back to the housing auctions to scoop up more foreclosed properties.

The men often purchase the homes without even seeing them -- a necessary evil when trying to compete in the bidding wars -- and have dealt with everything from stubborn squatters, biohazards, meth labs, gang members, and severe damage when starting on a new project. It'll be interesting to see what kind of trouble the guys run into in the sophomore season.

Clark and Baird are based out of Utah, and shooting for the series occurs in and around Salt Lake City. The duo have proven to have great appeal among viewers by offering tips and analysis as they work through each project. For them, it isn't just about showing off their skills as flippers; they also aim to educate others on how to do the job right.

"Flip Men" is part of a new string of original programming for Spike, which also includes "Auction Hunters," "Bar Rescue" and "Ink Master," that collectively aim to expand Spike's viewership appeal while staying abreast with developing cable trends.

A premiere date for Season 2 has yet to be announced.