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Networks plan fun, scary shows

Disney does it gently. Others do it fiercely.

Either way, the trend keeps growing: Networks — especially on cable and satellite — obsess about Halloween.

This is a busy time for the Disney-owned ABC Family. Its ninth annual "13 Nights of Halloween" begins Friday.

Still, that's modest by current standards. Several channels started a week earlier.

There will be much more right up to Oct. 31 — when three reality shows air live. Here's a sampling; many of these will rerun often:

Miniseries

"The Gathering" is a dead-serious tale, complete with witches and ravens and an evil real-estate mogul. Peter Gallagher, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Peter Fonda star. (Lifetime; 1 p.m. Oct. 21.)

New movies

"Twitches Too." This sequel has the twins (Tia and Tamera Mowry) bouncing between the modern world and an alternate kingdom where they have magic powers and an evil enemy. (Disney Channel; 9 p.m. Oct. 22)

"Nature of the Beast." Preparing for their wedding, the bride (Autumn Reeser) learns the groom (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a werewolf. Still, she's ready to proceed. (ABC Family; 9 p.m. Oct. 21. Reruns at 9 p.m. Oct. 24)

"Roxy Hunter and the Mystery of the Moody Ghost" has a 9-year-old girl discover a world of unsolved mysteries. (Nickelodeon; 7 p.m. Oct. 27)

New, scripted series

"Wizards of Waverly Place" catches the light side of magic. Selena Gomez plays a teen who (with her brothers) is learning from her dad. She manages to get it wrong in big, sight-gag ways. (Disney; 9:30 p.m. Fridays)

More scripted series

"Blood Ties" is a Canadian series about a private eye who specializes in the weird, often working with her former boyfriend or with a handsome vampire. (Lifetime, 9 p.m. Fridays)

"Ghost Whisperer" and "Moonlight" continue. (CBS, 7 and 8 p.m. Fridays)

More supernatural shows: "Heroes" (8 p.m. Mondays, NBC), "Reaper" (8 p.m. Tuesdays, CW) and the sweet-spirited "Pushing Daisies" (7 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC).

Reality shows

"Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead" and "America's Psychic Challenge." The first involves talking to the dead; the second is a competition. (Lifetime, 7 and 8 p.m. Fridays)

"The Search for the Next Elvira" has the real Elvira, Cassandra Peterson, choosing the person who will share her duties. (Fox Reality; at various times until its live finale, 6 p.m. Oct. 31)

"Phenomenon" adapts an Israeli show in which mentalists compete live. Criss Angel and Uri Gellar will be featured with the 10 competitors. (NBC, 7 p.m. for five Wednesdays; debuts Oct. 24 and has a two-hour edition on Oct. 31)

"Ghost Hunters" is a weekly show that has two guys leading searches of scary places. On Oct. 31, however, there will be a difference: The show starts at its regular time (7 p.m. Wednesdays on Sci Fi), but will be live for six hours, searching the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Ky.

Also: "Scariest Places on Earth" is a series that had families stay in creepy places. ABC Family has a marathon, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 27.

Documentaries

"Most Haunted" plans a seven-hour live search of the Winchester Mystery House, in San Jose, Calif. (Travel Channel, 8 p.m. Friday)

"Bloodsucking Cinema" views the history of vampire movies. It will be surrounded by lots of scary films, with or without vampires. (Starz; 9 p.m. Oct. 26, 6:35 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. Oct. 27; 11 p.m. Oct. 31)

"Lost Book of Nostradamus" views predictions in what it says is a newly discovered book "attributed to the French prophet Michel Nostradamus. (History Channel, 7 p.m. Oct. 28)

Animated

Nickelodeon has collections with Halloween themes. That includes 1-3 p.m. today, 1-4 p.m. Oct. 20 and a preschool marathon from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 29.

Nick also has special hours of "El Tigre and the Adventures of Manny Rivera" (8 p.m. Friday) and "Tak and the Power of Juju" (9 a.m., Oct. 27).

Big-screen movies

AMC has its annual "MonsterFest "on Oct. 22-31.

Turner Classic Movies pulls out the older scary films. Those are in all-day marathons on Friday, Oct. 26 and 31.

ABC Family has the basic-cable debuts of "Boogeyman" (10 p.m. Oct. 23) and "An American Haunting" (9 p.m. Oct. 26). It also throws in lots of others. Many are light, including "Casper" (9 p.m. Oct. 29) and Eddie Murphy's "The Haunted Mansion" (10 p.m. Oct. 30). A few are thoroughly serious, however, including the powerful "The Village" (9 p.m. Oct. 25) and "Poltergeist" (8:30 p.m. Oct. 22 and Oct. 31).