Scripted Networks Keep Getting Real

GMC to Add Inspirational Shows

GMC is the latest predominantly scripted programming-based cable network to move into the reality arena.

The faith-and-family-focused entertainment network hopes to diversify its brand and attract new viewers with at least four reality shows designed to complement its lineup of original movies and acquired dramas such as Touched by An Angel. First up on Nov. 18 is I Forgive You, GMC vice chairman Brad Siegel said.

I Forgive You follows the stories of people who find forgiveness for those who have put them through harrowing circumstances. The show’s storyline of redemption and faith should appeal to viewers who tune into the network for inspirational programming, Siegel said.

“Because our brand is faith, family and entertainment, they will understand what we’re trying to do with I Forgive You and will naturally migrate to a show like that whether it’s a reality or scripted drama,” he said. “At the end of the day, people want to be entertained.”

Unlike its monthly slate of original movies, reality fare like I Forgive You also provides the network with multiple episodes of relatively inexpensive content with appointment-viewing potential.

“The series has to really be on-brand, especially coming out of the box … It has to be something that absolutely resonates with the audience and is brand-defining,” he said. “If GMC is providing a reality series, it’s going to be a series that our viewers want to watch because they trust the brand.”

TNT, well-known for such scripted series as The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, also will debut three reality shows over the next year, beginning next February with Boston Blue, which follows Boston police officers in their day-to-day lives and continuing next summer with The Hero, starring actor and WWE wrestling personality Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

TNT cancelled competition series The Great Escape last month due to poor ratings.

And USA Network will tap the genre next year with several series, including The Moment, which gives people a chance at their career dreams; and The Choir, which brings communities together through music.

GMC, which will launch in January a second reality series, The Bulloch Family Ranch, may have more of an uphill climb in selling reality to its audience than general entertainment-based networks, which can offer more salacious or competitionbased reality content, Siegel conceded.