Reality Check is a Deadline feature series covering the players, programs and trends in reality television.
Dan Cutforth was already a reality TV veteran with some time spent developing Survivor when he started Magical Elves with Jane Lipsitz in 2001. Since then the Brit-born producer has charged forward with Bands On The Run for VH1, Project Greenlight, the Peabody winning Project Runway and of course Top Chef. The Bravo cooking competition show took the Reality Competition Program Emmy in 2010, breaking The Amazing Race’s 7-year winning streak. A wide reaching franchise now and undoubtedly one of the reasons the UK’s Tinopolis Group acquired Elves earlier this year, Top Chef certainly rates as a contender this Emmys. In that vein, Cutforth reveals his state of mind this Emmy season, how the genre has evolved and how he and Lipsitz keep Top Chef cooking.
DEADLINE: So Dan, what do you think the current state of Reality TV is?
DAN CUTFORTH: I think it’s interesting how hard it is to break through with a great, new show now, and I think this is something that’s been true probably for the last, maybe, three to five years. I think when you look at the current state of reality TV, at least on the mainstream level, the shows that tend to be more successful have been around for a while. It’s difficult today to show the audience something they haven’t seen before, and I think that’s what tends to be the … Read More »
The NBCUniversal cable net’s latest shows in development focus on obsession, ski instructors, beauty and fashion investors and matchmaking. Bravo today announced four reality projects that Bravo Media SVP Development said are “all about connecting Bravo viewers with who they definitely must know and what they absolutely cannot live without.” Michael Davies is among the producers of #obsessed, a roundup of the latest trends featuring Danielle Gibson and Alexandra Fiber. Apres Ski follows ski instructors vying for top jobs and “seeking thrills both on and off the mountain.” High Stakes Style centers on Shannon Mattingly as she and her team look to invest in one-of-a-kind beauty and style solutions. And Family Love revolves around Lisa Galos and her unconventional family of matchmakers. Here is the network’s descriptions of the shows, along with production info:
Related: Warner Horizon Teams With Andy Cohen For Unscripted Series About People Who Have Slept With Celebrities
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For the first time NBCUniversal bookends Broadcast Upfront Week — culminating in this afternoon’s NBCU Cable Entertainment Group at the Javits Center, including Bravo, E!, Esquire Network, Oxygen, Sprout, Syfy, and USA Network.
The presentation will have a hard time topping Joan and Melissa Rivers in the E! Red Carpet Mani-Cam, doing spot-on finger impressions of Lea Michelle and Sharon Stone for Giuliana Rancic and Ross Matthews. Kim Kardashian adjusted her engagement ring to make sure it was caught on the Mani-Cam in all its glory, then declared her fingers ugly and pulled out.
Here’s how it went:
4:20 PM ET: Big question of this upfront seems to be who is going to host it. NBCU Cable Entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer opened the orgy of new and returning show plugging by assuring us she’s not hosting, and touting the fact this combined network presentation boasted “120 of our on-air talent — that’s 120 wonderful humans.” She continued: “I know how grueling it can be running around town, sitting through umpteen presentations. .. We hope to earn a few brownie points saving your time… shoe leather and taxi fares.”
4:35 PM ET: NBCU’s ad sales chief Linda Yaccarino calls herself the Kim Kardashian of NBCU Cable. Kim Kardashian walks out and says “Hold on I believe I’M the Kim Kardashian of NBC Universal.” Yaccarino tries to give the two of them a name: Kardino?
“Enough about that,”Kim … Read More »
Bravo has put three more scripted series projects in development, including Rules Of Attraction, a high-concept adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis book, with Roger Avary, who wrote and directed the 2002 Lionsgate feature adaptation, writing. Lionsgate TV is producing. Also in the works is Shanghai, an ensemble drama centered on a group of ex-pats living in China written by M. Butterfly scribe David Henry Hwang. Amazon has a similar pilot, comedy Cosmopolitan, about the loves and adventures of a group of young expatriates in Paris. Bravo’s third project is Sweet Life, a family drama set in the Inkwell area of Martha’s Vineyard where affluent African Americans flock to vacation. Bravo recently greenlighted its first scripted series, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and Odd Mom Out, and set for development All the Pretty Faces, executive produced by Jennifer Garner. Here are descriptions of the three new scripted projects in development: Read More »
Bravo Media today unveiled five new unscripted series in development. Fempire follows female CEOs dominating their field, The Fit Club, tackles New York City’s hottest trainers, Why Not Minot? looks at the wealthy area of Minot, ND, Last Chance gives couples one last opportunity to salvage their relationship by putting them on television, and Crowd Control, in which social media decides participants’ life decisions, from what job they take to the food they eat. “Bravo is constantly developing projects to find the next big hit that resonates with our pop culture enthusiasts,” said Lara Spotts, SVP Development for Bravo Media. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rake co-star Necar Zadegan has been added to Bravo‘s newly picked-up 13-episode hourlong series Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, starring Lisa Edelstein. Additionally, the 24 alumna has booked an arc on new TNT drama series Legends, reuniting with 24 executive producer Howard Gordon. Bravo’s maiden scripted series, from writer-producer Marti Noxon and UCP, 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. Zadegan, repped by Innovative, Generate and Sloan Offer, will play a divorce attorney at Lyla’s (Janeane Garofalo) firm who is fearless and speaks her mind, sometimes embellishing in hyperbole. She wants to be Abby’s attorney and has a very nontraditional type of marriage herself. The casting is in second position to Fox midseason drama Rake, which has done poorly in the ratings and has been relegated to Fridays in route to a likely cancellation. Zadegan is the second Rake regular to book a new project in second position, joining Bojana Novakovic, who plays the lead in ABC drama pilot Agatha. On Legends, Zadegan plays a tough and savvy arms broker working with a Russian Colonel to sell chemical weapons.
Related: 2014 Bravo Pilots
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. Read More »
Real Housewives Of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice today pleaded guilty to four fraud charges against them. As a part of a plea agreement with New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, the reality TV duo could face up to 2 years in jail for the mortgage and bankruptcy fraud charges when they are sentenced on July 8. Teresa will have to hand over $200,000 in July as part of her deal with the government. The Housewives cast members were first indicted last July on dozens of federal charges that potentially could have put them behind bars for decades and having to pay millions in fines. Under federal guidelines, which government lawyers have indicated they want to fully pursue, Joe Giudice now faces a potential sentence of 37 to 46 months while Teresa could get 21 to 27 months behind bars.
“I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family. Especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world,” said Giudice a statement after the hearing. ”I have said throughout that I respect the legal process and thus, I intend to address the court directly at sentencing. I will describe the choices I made, continue to take responsibility for my decision, and express my remorse to Judge Salas and the public.” Bravo said that they had ”no statement” on the … Read More »
Following a solid second season, Bravo‘s The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills offshoot Vanderpump Rules looks poised to get a third season renewal. The reality series, starring RHOBH‘s Lisa Vanderpump, has grown steadily in the ratings, starting with 1.19 million viewers for the Season 2 premiere and culminating with 2.24 million tuning in for the first part of the end-of-season reunion. Viewership dipped a bit in the reunion conclusion (1.92 million) but Vanderpump managed to edge RHOBH in its last three airings and to pull in Season 2 averages in total viewers and adults 18-49 that were ahead of Season 1.
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.
Related: Lifetime Picks Up Marti Noxon’s ‘Un-Real’ To Series
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. Read More »
Bravo Media has greenlit a new culinary competition series Top Chef Extreme (working title) pitting former Top Chef franchise competitors from past seasons against one another. Top Chef Extreme will premiere in summer 2014. In each episode of the newest extension of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning franchise, two of the most talked-about personalities from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters’ past seasons will face off head-to-head in three rounds of extreme culinary challenges. Top Chef Extreme is produced by Magical Elves for Bravo, with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers. Bravo is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal.
Mindy Kaling‘s show has struggled on Fox, but maybe a little home cooking will help. Bravo has a set a marathon of corporate sibling Universal TV‘s The Mindy Project for New Year’s Eve, running all 11 of the current second season’s episodes in the ordered they aired. The news comes less than a month after Fox said it will bench the sitcom from January 28 to April 1, an announcement made days after Mindy posted a series-low 1.2 rating among adults 18-49. The show is getting a monthlong production hiatus during the holidays as producers to plan for its spring relaunch. Meanwhile, Bravo’s Mindy marathon runs from 8:30 AM-2 PM Pacific, leaving viewers plenty of time to prep for “Auld Lang Syne.”
Related: ‘The Mindy Project’ Kicks Fox Decency Police
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
Related: Indicted ‘Real Housewives Of NJ’ Stars Released on $500K Bail Read More »
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.
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Bravo Media has promoted Christy Dees to VP Development. In addition to developing new original series for the network, Dees will serve as executive producer on the upcoming reality series, Thicker Than Water, following former pro-basketball player turned popular gospel singer/recording artist/minister Ben Tankard, his blended family and their journey in expanding the family fortune. Based in Los Angeles, Dees will report to Lara Spotts, VP of Development for Bravo Media, who said in today’s announcement, “Christy’s impeccable understanding of the Bravo brand coupled with her infectious passion for reality television have earned her a winning track record in her three year’s here.”
Bravo has ordered a Season 2 of Newlyweds: The First Year. For the second season, as with the first, Bravo will partner with Monkey Kingdom, which is part of the NBCUniversal International Television Production family, and Eddie Schmidt (Twist of Faith). Season 1 of Newlyweds averaged about 1.3 million total viewers (L+7, premieres only), following four newlywed couples through their first 365 days of marriage. A full 50% of all marriages end in divorce, Bravo noted in today’s announcement. Spending the first year of a marriage on TV really helps.
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.
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Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was a surprise hit when it premiered in July 2003, adding the “make-better” to the pop culture conversation and sending Bravo on its reality path. Now the cable channel is celebrating the five-season series with Queer Eye Reunion: 10 Years Later, an Andy Cohen-hosted gathering of the “Fab Five”: Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez. As they discuss the Emmy-winning show — whose title was shortened to Queer Eye after Season 3 — the gents will dish on behind-the-scenes secrets and how their lives have changed in the past decade. The reunion will air in October.
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: Read More »