Bravo has lined up award-winning documentary-director
Michael Moore to do a guerilla-video-style original comedy series called The Awful
Truth, which will premiere in April.
Moore -- who directed the film Roger & Me,as
well as doing the series TV Nation for the Fox broadcast network -- announced his
new series for Bravo on Howard Stern's radio show last Wednesday. The 12-part
half-hour series debuts on Bravo April 14 at 9 p.m.
"I hope that we can do for Bravo what South Park
did for Comedy Central," Moore said in a phone interview. "I think that Bravo is
a really good network, and I hope that the show will bring in a lot of viewers."
The Awful Truth will combine comedy with nonfiction,
inserting fictional characters into nonfiction situations.
"It's a great fit for our audience," said Ed
Carroll, executive vice president and general manager of Bravo. "His humor is so
smart and sharp."
For example, in one The Awful Truth episode,
entitled "The Witch Hunt," Moore takes a group of Puritans to Washington, D.C.,
to show Ken Starr how to conduct a witch-hunt for less than $40 million. The stunt got
coverage from all-news outlets such as Cable News Network and MSNBC.
The filmmaker is currently shooting an episode of The
Awful Truth that looks at Stern and the Federal Communications Commission. In other
episodes, Moore brings Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates a Weed Wacker as a housewarming
gift, and he searches the globe for a Rupert Murdoch-free community, Carroll said, the
latter referring to News Corp.'s chairman.
Moore said he talked to several other cable networks about
his new series, including Home Box Office and Comedy Central, before opting to do it for
Bravo, where he feels that he'll have more creative freedom.
"At Bravo, we'll be able to push the envelope a
little more," Moore said.
He noted that while Bravo has just started to run limited
advertising, worries about sponsor reactions won't begin to approach his experience
at Fox, where Moore said he was constantly battling with censors.
Moore also pointed out that Bravo is producing The Awful
Truth in association with British Channel 4, and that the English "are strong
proponents of satire."
The new series will be taped before a live audience. Right
now, odds are in favor of shooting in Chicago, according to Carroll.
Moore said he was familiar with officials at Bravo and its
sister network, The Independent Film Channel, through their common associations in the
independent-film industry. He had done spots for Bravo and hosted the IFC awards. Moore
approached Bravo with the concept for The Awful Truth.
"We were considering several ideas for new
shows," Carroll said, "and this just jumped to the head of the class
[Moore] has a following, and his smart humor is a perfect fit."
With the addition of The Awful Truth and the
original Bravo Profiles to its primetime lineup, Bravo will have had added
six-and-one-half hours of original programming to it, on top of its original series, Inside
the Actors Studio.
Moore made his name with his documentary, Roger & Me,in which he relentlessly pursued General Motors Corp. chairman Roger Smith, trying to
confront him on the closing of GM factories in Moore's hometown of Flint, Mich.
Moore's most recent foray into television was his Emmy
Award-winning series, TV Nation, which debuted on NBC and then moved to Fox, where
it was eventually cancelled. Moore said TV Nation always did exceedingly well in
the young-male demographic that advertisers love.