Arts-themed network Ovation has tapped the Web and publishing industries for a new fashion-based series.
The network will team with fashion magazine Vogue to develop The Fashion Fund, a one-hour series that will document the 10th anniversary of the fashion design competition of the same name. Beginning in December, Ovation will air at least six episodes of the series, which follows 10 U.S.-based designers vying to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue “Fashion Fund” contest.
“It’s right in the wheelhouse of the world of art, because fashion is one of the pillars of art,” said Robert Weiss, Ovation’s chief creative officer.
The series marks the first network programming deal for Condé Nast Entertainment, headed by former cable and broadcast TV executive Dawn Ostroff . This past, March the company launched a digital online network featuring original series inspired by Condé Nast-owned magazines Glamour and GQ.
CNE has also reached a deal with Investigation Discovery for a second cable series, The Wall Street Journal reported last week, though network officials declined comment on the matter.
For the past two years, CNE has presented the Fashion Fund competition via online short segments highlighting the run-up to the finals. Those shorts will air on Ovation, Weiss said, but the TV series will not resemble Condé Nast’s online efforts.
“We’ll get to know the characters really well and get to meet the different judges during the process,” he said. “At the very end, a winner will be chosen.”
Unlike the current lot of fashion-themed reality series on cable, Fashion Fund is more of a documentary series about a decade-old competition event that draws the biggest names in the industry, Weiss said. The competition’s selection committee is comprised of such industry icons as Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour; Diane von Furstenberg, Ken Downing, Andrew Rosen and Jenna Lyons.
“We didn’t have to make anything up with Fashion Fund,” Weiss said. “Add to that the Vogue brand and the opportunity to put on the passion project of Anna and Diane von Furstenberg, and you can see that is an opportunity you wish for on television.”
Weiss said the 44 million-subscriber Ovation will look at a combination of viewership and social- media metrics to determine if Fashion Fund is resonating with its audience.
“I think anyone in 2013 has to define a media success across multiple platforms — it’ll be a combination of TV ratings, social media engagement and digital engagement,” he said.
The network will also continue to scour the Web and other digital platforms for quality original series and documentaries to air on the network. He added that the network is talking to several celebrities about developing their “passion projects” to air exclusively on Ovation, although he would not reveal specific names.
Last month, the network said it would air miniseries A Young Doctor’s Notebook. The drama set during the Russian Revolution originally aired in the United Kingdom on Sky Arts and stars Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Daniel Radcliff e (the Harry Potter franchise).
“There are a lot of projects out there that celebrities feel are very close to their heart, and when they think about them being presented on television they want to make sure it’s presented in the right context,” Weiss said.
Ovation will use ratings and social-media metrics to determine the success of new series The Fashion Fund.