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Originals Keep Rising at Bravo

4/26/2005 10:34 AM Eastern

New York -- As part of its most ambitious development slate yet, Bravo plans a busy summer featuring five new series, fresh installments of returning shows and several specials.

Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick, speaking at an upfront presentation for the press

here Tuesday, said the network’s original programming continues to grow by 25% annually. For the next 18 months, Bravo has more than 30 new series and specials in development and various stages of production, she added.

First up on the new-series beat is Sports Kids Moms & Dads, an eight-part series debuting June 1 at 10 p.m. that will follow the struggles and conflicts of families whose children strive to excel in the “win-at-all-costs” world of sports. Tracy Austin, the youngest player ever inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, will narrate and lend her own perspectives as a former child-sports prodigy.

Cinema verité is the order of the day for eight half-hour episodes of Being Bobby Brown, following the life of the Grammy Award winner, wife Whitney Houston and their family. It begins June 30 at 10 p.m.

On July 27 at 10 p.m., Bravo rolls out Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. The six one-hour episodes follow the comedienne, the “peeps in her world,” her public appearances and stand-up. The series will benefit from her second Bravo one-hour special, Kathy Griffin Is …Not Nicole Kidman, immediately before its debut

In August, Bravo will air unveil a pair of series. Situation: Comedy, from Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), is a 10-episode series in which unknowns compete to pitch a show idea. Two will ultimately produce a pilot, both of which will be screened on the show’s final episode. Viewers will help to make the call on a contract with the William Morris Agency, a cash prize and the potential for a series pickup.

Described as Candid Camera meets Curb Your EnthusiasmHidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance will mix hidden-camera reality with scripted comedy around his gig filming segments for The Tonight Show. The first of the six half-hours bows Aug. 18.

Among returning series -- which Zalaznick called the network’s tent poles -- Bravo has ordered fresh installments of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Celebrity Poker Showdown and Project Runaway.

A second season of salon series Blow Out, showcasing celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Antin, is slated to blow June 7 at 9 p.m. One hour later, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s new season begins and perhaps will give new meaning to the phrase “Cowboy Up” when the “Fab 5” works with Boston Red Sox players Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield and Doug Mirabelli.

Beginning Aug. 18, Celebrity Poker will ante up with the first of six new two-hour competitions. And the second season of Heidi Klum vehicle Project Runway will span 12 hours.

The pop-culture network will begin its special proceedings May 2 at 8 p.m. with the two-hour The Million Dollar Recipe, following several of the 100 finalists in the Pillsbury Bake-Off as they vie for a $1 million first prize.

From May 26-28, Bravo will air UltimateSuper Heroes, Ultimate Super Villains, Ultimate Super Vixens. Narrated by Batman’s Adam West, the special will celebrate the top villains, heroes and vixens who have left audiences with lasting impressions over the years.

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