Bravo Media made a number of promotions today including Lara Spotts to SVP Development, and LA-based Jenn Levy and Kathleen French to SVP Production. Additionally, David O’Connell, SVP Production Operations, and David Brewer, VP Program Strategy & Acquisitions, have expanded their oversight of Oxygen Media while continuing to supervise Bravo. Based in New York, Spotts will lead Bravo’s scripted and non-scripted developments on both the East and West Coast for pilots, casting reels and original concepts. She reports to Frances Berwick, President of Bravo and Oxygen Media.
EXCLUSIVE: Bravo Media is officially a scripted series player. The cable network has greenlighted its first original scripted series, the hourlong Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce starring House alumna Lisa Edelstein. The project, from writer-producer Marti Noxon and Universal Cable Prods, has received a 13-episode order for a 2015 premiere. Based on the best-selling “Girlfriends’ Guide” books by Vicki Iovine, the series follows Abby (Edelstein), a self-help book author who hides the fact that she’s separated from her husband, as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles. She finds herself seeking advice from her divorced friends instead of her married ones, which leads to some unexpected and life-changing experiences. This is the second series order for Noxon this month, following Lifetime’s 10-episode pickup of Un-Real. I hear Girlfriends’ Guide has the Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumna in first position. She is executive producing the Bravo series with Dawn Olmstead, Iovine and Weinstein Co.’s Meryl Poster and Adam Brooks, who directed the pilot. The series co-stars Janeane Garofalo and Beau Garrett, with Paul Adelstein and Carrie Fisher featured in the pilot.
Girlfriends’ Guide was originally set up at Showtime in 2012 as a half-hour spec by Noxon. Bravo took the project in early last spring and converted it to one-hour. It’s been a smooth sailing ever since, with a pilot order in August, the hire of Brooks to direct and Edelstein to star, leading to the series order. “From the minute we saw this script, we felt this was really on brand for Bravo — it’s got lots of humor, lots of fun, and it’s incredibly stylish,” said Frances Berwick, president Bravo and Oxygen Media. “More than anything, this is a real passion project for Marti who is a big Bravo fan.” There is no plan yet how to launch Girlfriend’s Guide but Berwick suggested that “we have the benefit of having great natural big-reach shows to launch out of” and “with the comedy and drama in (Bravo’s) heavily serialized reality shows, there is a natural connection” that would make for an easy flow from them to the scripted Girlfriend’s Guide.
UPDATE, 8:20 AM: Real Housewives Of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice today pleaded not guilty to the latest fraud charges against them. In a brief arraignment in federal court in Newark, NJ this morning, the Bravo reality TV duo appeared to answer to one count of bank fraud and one count of loan application fraud. At a rare loss for outburst, neither Giudice spoke in Judge Esther Salas’s courtroom as their lawyers entered the pleas for them. With the indictments from earlier this summer, the couple now face 41 fraud counts and face decades behind bars and millions in fines if found guilty. The Giudices’ trial is set to start in February 2014. Season 6 of The Real Housewives Of NJ is expected to return in mid-2014 — with the Giuduces as part of the cast
Bravo officially announced start dates for three new docu-soap series launching in the first quarter of ’14 which — and not a single Real Housewives Of [Fill In The Blank] in the bunch. From today’s announcement:
On Thursday, January 2nd at 10:30 PM ET/PT, get a start on those new year’s resolutions with two new faces of fitness guaranteed to make you sweat on “Toned Up.” Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn have taken the web by storm with their website ToneItUp.com which receives over 1.8 million unique visitors a month and over 600 twitter mentions per hour. Making no apologies for who they are, these women use their “yoga smarts” to push themselves and their brand to wild extremes.
“Blood, Sweat & Heels” steps up Bravo’s style and sass beginning Sunday, January 5th at 9 PM ET/PT with a group of up-and-coming movers and shakers in New York’s elite circles of real estate, fashion, and media. The women featured on the show include former “video vixen” turned realtor Melyssa Ford, real estate partner Brie Bythewood, modeling agency owner Mica Hughes, affordable-style expert Daisy Lewellyn, A Belle in Brooklyn blogger and author Demetria Lucas and style and pop culture journalist Geneva S. Thomas.
On the heels of Bravo topper Frances Berwick also getting oversight of Oxygen Media, she has set her team for both networks. There is very little overlap, with only a couple of eliminated positions and most senior executives at both networks staying put, including heads of development Andy Cohen (Bravo) and Rod Aissa (Oxygen). Here is Berwick’s memo:
I’m writing today to introduce the new senior management team for Bravo and Oxygen. It’s an incredibly talented group of people with a fantastic track record. They’re not only smart and strategic, but they’ve all consistently contributed to an atmosphere of collaboration, respect and inspiration…which sets the stage for even greater days ahead for two outstanding brands.
Bravo today announced November premiere dates for five returning unscripted series — two Real Housewives shows, Fashion Queens, Vanderpump Rules and Shahs Of Sunset — as well as unveiling the new series Thicker Than Water. That latter series, which will debut November 10, follows Nashville’s Ben and Jewel Tankard and their blended and extended family as they live, love and laugh through the perils and pleasures of life. Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills (November 4, 8-10 PM) will introduce new castmembers, London-born Carlton Gebbia and former Miss Puerto Rico Joyce Giruad de Ohoven. The month kicks off November 3 at 8 PM with the Season 6 premiere of Real Housewives Of Atlanta. Here are the network descriptions of the new seasons and their return dates:
UPDATE FRIDAY 2 AM: Oprah is all about carefully controlling her image at all times. But not this week when she made the media rounds to promote her return to the big screen in …
In typical Bravo fashion, the channel today announced the day after a season finale that one of its series is coming back. In this case, it’s Million Dollar Listing New York which will be back for a …
Update, 8:09 AM: Real Housewives Of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice appeared in federal court in Newark today to face charges in their 39-count fraud indictment case. The couple didn’t enter a plea to the charges that came down on Monday but they both handed over a $500,000 unsecured bail bond. Also Judge Cathy Waldor compelled the duo to hand over their passports and imposed travel restrictions on the Giudices. In what is an obvious sign of a flight risk concern, the couple is now only allowed to travel in New Jersey and New York State. This morning’s proceedings also revealed that Joe Giudice is not actually an American citizen which means he could be deported to Italy if convicted. The couple will be back in court on August 14 to be arraigned. Their lawyers say the couple plans to plead not guilty which means we could see a trial in the new year at the earliest. Among the charges the Giudices face, they are alleged by the government to have lied on their bankruptcy petition about their income from the Garden State version of the Bravo franchise. With perhaps the exception of the usual reunion special, it is unlikely that this reality will end up Real Housewives of New Jersey anytime soon. The show wrapped filming on its current fifth season months ago. The latest cycle debuted on June 2.
PREVIOUSLY, MONDAY PM: Reality stars Teresa and Giuseppe Giudice are about to get a courtroom reality check. The castmembers of Bravo‘s The Real Housewives Of New Jersey were indicted today on several federal charges that could see them behind bars for decades and having to pay millions in fines. The bulk of the 39 charges (read them here), which the duo will face in court tomorrow, stem from false income statements on loan and mortgage documents and failure to file tax returns before the Garden State version of the reality TV franchise debuted in May 2009. However, a portion of the 33-page indictment deals with the couple’s income from the first and second season of the show. Specifically, how the Giudices did not state the funds the received as required by law in their October 2009 bankruptcy petition. “From in or about June 2008 through the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition, defendant Teresa Giudice received income of approximately $110,677 from various sources, including her work as an actress on the television show The Real Housewives of New Jersey (the “Television Show”), sales from the tgfabulicious.com website, and payments from personal and magazine appearances,” says the filing of what is termed a scheme to defraud. “On or about June 5, 2009 and August 27, 2009, defendants Giuseppe Giudice and Teresa Giudice signed agreements in connection with then-upcoming Season Two of the Television Show whereby they would receive approximately $110,000 in compensation,” the Grand Jury indictment adds. Despite various hearings, documents and other disclosures, the couple left their TV income off the bankruptcy books.
PREVIOUS 8:50 AM: I’ve learned that Bravo has opted not to go forward with its pilot …