E! Entertainment Television and WE: Women's Entertainment are hoping for a ratings boost from aggressive original programming slates.
Eyeing more adults ages 18 to 34 — especially college students on summer break — five original series will join the E! lineup beginning next month.
E! is coming off a flat first-quarter household rating (0.4).
Shows to debut in June include Fight for Fame (June 5), pitting five aspiring actors in a one-day competition to sign with a major Hollywood talent agency, and Party at the Palms (June 15), behind the scenes at the Palms Casino Hotel in Las Vegas.
In July comes Kill Reality, bringing reality show cast members into New Line Cinema's upcoming horror flick The Scorned. August will see the debut of The Girl Next Door, glimpsing women who live at a Playboy Mansion, and Cattle Drive, putting Beverly Hills kids on a cattle ranch.
Specials set for this summer include What Hollywood Taught Us About Sex; Totally High; This Was Huge; Jennifer Aniston: On Her Own Terms, An E! Entertainment Special; 101 Even Bigger Celebrity Oops; 20 Hippest Hot Spots; I Was A Network TV Star; and THS Investigates: Serial Killers.
E! Networks CEO Ted Harbert said the slate mixes E! specials and stunts with reality shows that “are on brand and are meant to be entertaining while telling interesting stories.”
WE, meanwhile, is adding three original productions and one British import this year. They join returning shows McLeod's Daughters, Bridezillas, Full Frontal Fashion and Single in the City, tracking romantic escapades and intrigue in Atlanta.
WE dipped 33% in the first quarter 2005, to a 0.2 rating.
Hour drama Cutting Edge, in July, from BBC Worldwide, centers on two sisters who run rival beauty salons in Manchester, England.
Things get heated over the 13-episode season as the sisters share a passion for something other than salons, network officials said.
In September comes Kiss & Tell, following a dozen men and women on the singles circuit in New York, from a downtown bartender to a Park Avenue princess. Nine episodes are on order.
December will see Daddy's Little (Spoiled) Girl, about the extravagances fathers lavish on daughters, and The Secret Lives of Women, where women break career barriers or overcome addictions like compulsive shopping. WE ordered eight installments apiece.
Mike Reynolds contributed to this story.