Bravos Count: $20M Buys a 1.3 Rating

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Bravo's $20 million miniseries, The Count of Monte
Cristo
,far exceeded the network's expectations, averaging nearly double the
ratings that had been projected, officials said last week.

The original series, which aired June 21 through 24,
averaged a 1.3 cumulative rating for its two airings each night over those four days,
according to Nielsen Media Research data supplied by Bravo.

Bravo had expected the French-language miniseries based on
the classic book, which aired with English subtitles, to do a 0.7 rating.

"The series lived up to everything we saw on the pages
of the script, and it was a spectacular production," Bravo senior vice president of
programming Frances Berwick said. "And we were really excited at its success."

Monte Cristo, a co-production starring Gerard
Depardieu, marks the first leg of Bravo's new strategy of doing one high-profile
original-programming event each quarter, Berwick said.

The next one -- a $1 million two-hour special, Cirque du
Soleil: Quidam
--is slated to air in the fall, most likely in December.

As part of its continuing effort to increase original
programming, Bravo also plans to launch a new series each quarter starting this fall,
Berwick said.

"Our new strategy is focusing on major original
products and new original series," she added.

Bravo's latest original weekly series -- The Awful Truth,
with filmmaker Michael Moore --debuted in April and just finished its run of 12
episodes. It will now go into repeats.

In its cumulative rating for its two airings each night, at
9 p.m. and 1 a.m., The Awful Truth averaged a 0.5 rating. "We've been
extremely pleased at how it is performing," Berwick said.

Bravo said its primetime ratings are up 8 percent in the
second quarter, to a 0.26 from a 0.24 during the year-ago quarter.

Last year, Bravo made the transformation to an ad-supported
format from its former noncommercial format. As part of that change, the network is
bumping up its spending on original programming.

This month, Bravo is airing a weeklong "Tales of the
Seventies" festival, July 26 through 30, that will include the U.S. TV premiere of Abba,
about the Swedish band.

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