On Tour With the TCA


Several cable networks used last week’s Winter Television Critics Association Tour to announce major expansions in original programming fare for 2010. Following are some highlights.


Looking to continue its Nielsen momentum with adults and women 18 to 49, Bravo said it would expand its lineup by another 20% in 2010.

Bravo executive vice president and general manager Frances Berwick, who said the network has registered 17 consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth among adults 18 to 49, announced the network has picked up a pair of docuseries and outlined the starting dates for a slew of returning series.

“Bravo continues to grow our highly engaged audience, powered by the network’s signature characters, talented experts and their aspirational lifestyles,” Berwick said. “Developing shows around these addictive personalities is the secret sauce in allowing us to nearly double our original hours over the past three years, and to feed that passion across all consumer touchpoints.”

Bravo has ordered Bethenny’s Getting Married, which gives viewers a deeper look at the breakout star from The Real Housewives of New York City. Viewers will follow the outspoken Gotham socialite as she juggles her love life, plans a wedding and prepares for a baby, while managing her busy schedule and career as a natural foods chef. In between, she’s writing a pair of books on healthy living.

Meanwhile, Bravo is also bringing back elite gym trainer Jackie Warner to Work Out again. In This Intervention With Jackie Warner, Bravo will show Warner kicking butt and inspiring her overweight clients to make drastic lifestyle changes.

Bravo also confirmed new season orders for a third season of celebrity stylings with The Rachel Zoe Project; a sixth season of two-time Emmy-winner Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List; a fourth season of real-estate docuseries Flipping Out; and a third season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, the network’s highest-rated Real Housewives franchise.

Also on tap are new seasons of The Millionaire Matchmaker on Jan. 19 at 10 p.m.; Shear Genius on Feb. 3 at 11 p.m.; The Real Housewives of New York City on March 4 at 10 p.m.; and Top Chef Masters on April 7 at 11 p.m.

New shows include a look at the world of high-powered public relations with Kell On Earth on Feb. 1 at 10 p.m.; a docuseries about the husband-and-wife design team of Robert and Cortney Novogratz, 9 By Design, on April 5 at 10 p.m.; Double Exposure, which follows photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani, starting in April; Top Chef: Just Desserts, another spin-off of the popular franchise; and Work of Art: Next Great Artists, a competition series for contemporary artists, in June.


Bravo’s sister cable network Oxygen said it will launch an new night of original fare as it develops a half-dozen new shows. It will add a second night of originals on Mondays this spring by shifting reality series Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood from Tuesdays.

The fifth season of the Spelling show on Mondays will be backed by the sophomore run of Dance Your Ass Off this summer. Spice Girl Mel B will host season two of Dance Your Ass Off; the show’s rookie run set records for an Oxygen freshman series with its biggest series premiere ever.

The network’s Bad Girls Club franchise continues its current season on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., with all new installments. “Originals are the building blocks of our brand and our business,” Oxygen Media general manager Jason Klarman said in a statement. “Tuesdays have been a huge success and adding Mondays gives us another night to engage and super-serve our audience.”

On the development front, Oxygen described both aspirational and docu-series projects, a game show with a twist, and an extreme hair competition show. Those join the previously announced The Russell Simmons Project.

“We are unveiling a robust development slate filled with new content that expands into a variety of genres and formats,” said Amy Introcaso-Davis, senior vice president of original programming and development.

The Russell Simmons Project will provide viewers with a peek at the life of the entrepreneur, philanthropist, and entertainment and fashion icon, as well as the powerful team of women that runs his businesses.

With new game show Fashion Drop, Oxygen’s on the lookout for the best-dressed person in the room; audience members strut their stuff before a panel of judges and prove that their sense of style beats all others in a number of challenges.

In Hair Battle Spectacular, the competition series orbits around 10 superstars of fantasy hair design. Ultimately, the most over-the-top tresses will afford the winner a $100,000 prize.

Docuseries House of Glam eyes the trend-setting wardrobe, hair and makeup stylists of the B. Lynn Group, headed by Brandi Simpkins, whose client base includes Diddy, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Foxx, Rhihanna, Jay-Z and Ludacris.

On the East Coast, Jersey Couture provides its own fashion sense, as the Scali family runs an extravagant Garden State dress store with a flair for fashion, accessories and the right undergarments. With Charlie Met Sarah, Oxygen builds a docuseries whose roots go back to a dating competition show.


On the premium front, Showtime will follow up its hit dynasty drama The Tudors with The Borgias, about the infamous Italian Renaissance clan, with Jeremy Irons portraying the patriarch. Ten episodes are slated to go into production this spring, for a 2011 debut.

Showtime also screened a teaser clip for Episodes, an inside-Hollywood comedy starring Matt LeBlanc (Friends); 10 episodes have been ordered.


HBO and filmmaker Spike Lee will revisit New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina in a followup to the documentary When the Levees Broke set to debut in August.

Lee will produce and direct the untitled film which begins shooting tomorrow in the Crescent City, according to HBO officials.

The original Emmy Award-winning documentary, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts, portrayed New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation as well as the beginning steps to its recovery.

When the Levees Broke was a landmark in documentary filmmaking,” said Shelia Nevins, president of HBO documentary films in a statement. “It’s an exciting notion to anticipate Spike going back for this reprise.”

New Orleans will also serve as the backdrop for a new HBO drama series, Treme, set to debut in April.

HBO also announced last Thursday it has picked up the U.S. TV rights to the Colombia-based documentary Sins of My Father and will air the show in fall 2010.

The documentary focuses on the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar as seen through the eyes of his son Sebastian Marroquin, the network said. The film premiered at the 2009 International Documentary Film Festival and is an official selection in the World Documentary Competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

On the sports side, the network will showcase the 1970’s Philadelphia Flyers hockey team as part of a new documentary set to debut in May. Broad Street Bullies will tell the back stories of the tough and physical National Hockey League team that won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, said the network.

Mike Reynolds contributed to this report.