After doing docudramas on the privileged and pampered “housewives” of Orange County and New York City, Bravo is going to the land of Tony Soprano and big hair, New Jersey, for the next iteration of its reality series.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey was one of three new series that Bravo unveiled last week at a press upfront presentation.
Bravo, which is increasing its original programming hours by 45%, announced that it had renewed 12 current shows, not only Project Runway but also series such as The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of New York City, The Millionaire Matchmaker, Shear Genius, Top Chef, Top Design, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, Flipping Out and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List.
Bravo is also adding a fourth night of original programming, Mondays.
“Two years ago we had one show, one original night,” Bravo Media executive vice president and general manager Frances Berwick said. “In 2008, we have 21 original series, and that includes 12 returning hit franchises. So that’s 12 shows with more than a million viewers, and three shows with more than 2 million viewers.”
In the first quarter, Bravo saw a 38% increase in adults 18 to 49 and a 30% gain in total viewers versus the year-ago period.
“So clearly, this is not just about one show,” Bravo Media president Lauren Zalaznick said. “It’s a powerful multimedia environment. Bravo is about an environment.”
Bravo’s new shows and specials, in addition to The Real Housewives of New Jersey, are: The Rachel Zoe Project, a docudrama on the celebrity stylist; Date My Ex, a reality dating series featuring Real Housewives of Orange County alums Jo De La Rosa and Slade Smiley; and Bravo’s A-List Awards, a special that will premiere June 12 and be hosted by Griffin.
Regarding Housewives of New Jersey, Berwick said, “This time we’re turning our eye to a wealthy community in New Jersey. We’re not saying exactly where yet, because we’re in production. We fall in love with a group of women who juggle onyx fireplaces and Faberge eggs with unfaithful husbands and family businesses.”
Bravo’s shows in development include: Donatella, about a Manhattan restaurateur; Miami Social, which follows a rich and hedonistic group of friends; and Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, where former Shear Genius contestant Tabatha Coffey tries to make over beauty salons in one week’s time.
“We’re all about consistently super serving our passionate — and I would say sometimes fanatical — viewers with content around our food, fashion, beauty, design and pop-culture affinity groups,” Berwick said.