EXCLUSIVE: Costume designer Janie Bryant — best known for Mad Men and her Emmy-winning work on HBO’s Deadwood – is in development on a new design competition series with E.J. Johnston and James Deutch, co-creators of NBC’s fashion competition series Fashion Star. In the new show — working title Janie Bryant’s Hollywood — wannabe designers will be given a different challenge each week to create a garment in the style of a classic Hollywood film, or a celebrity’s signature style (think Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Warren Beatty, etc). Bryant and the show’s judges will decide each week who best executed the challenge. “We loved the idea of tapping into someone like Bryant, who is great at finding a look and designing costumes for film and TV and seeing how it translates into the real world,” Deutch tells Deadline. “Janie totally gets how to translate Hollywood to mainstream fashion.” He says they’ve just started pitching the show to networks, focusing on cablers such as Bravo, E! and Lifetime — networks that target women, people who love movies, and/or have had success with other fashion shows.
If American Idol is the Eden of reality star judgeships, then NBC’s Fashion Star has to be the River Styx and the beginning of the end. For one thing the series doesn’t actually have anyone called a judge on it. Instead Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos and Nicole Richie are referred to as ‘mentors’. You might not know it but NBC insists that Simpson, Richie and Varvatos are three of fashion’s biggest names. (Anna Wintour might beg to differ.) For the recently debuted Season 2, the ratings demonstrate a show that’s still struggling. Is that why the show slashed the prize contract from $6 million in the first season to $3 million for the second?
Richie, Varvatos and Simpson are supposed to guide their teams of four aspiring clothing designers to succeed with fashion buyers from Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Express. Otherwise, the designers have to face the blink-and-you-missed-it elimination. This results in a muddle of mentor roles. If you ask me, Fashion Star is a cable show that stumbled onto network and can’t compare to the superior Project Runway. So I feel forced to say this: Nicole Richie, you can do better.
NBC has put in the last piece in its midseason scheduling puzzle, slotting the second season of reality competition series Fashion Star for a March 8 premiere and a run in the Friday 8 PM time period. The premiere of Fashion Star will lead into the spring return of Grimm at 9 PM after a two-month hiatus. NBC left the Friday 8 PM slot TBD in its recent midseason announcements despite wide speculation that Fashion Star had been earmarked for the hour. I hear that there was an issue with the retailers who sell the outfits from each episode if the series aired on Fridays. Fashion Star‘s first season ran on Tuesday. The store chains partnered with the show this season are returning giants Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as Express in for H&M. Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos are back as celebrity mentors, with Louise Roe replacing creator/executive producer Elle Macpherson as host. The Friday 8 PM hour is becoming a preferred slot for unscripted programming, featuring CBS’ Undercover Boss, Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares, until recently ABC’s Shark Tank, and starting in March, NBC’s Fashion Star.
The union and producers Magical Elves reached an agreement over health and pension benefits last night, Deadline has learned. The crew of Fashion Star, on strike since Saturday, will return to work today. There will be no more picketing at Hollywood Center Studios and the producers’ offices. Also, today’s 1:30 PM taping in front of an audience of the NBC reality show will now go ahead as scheduled. The agreement comes after IATSE representatives met with Magical Elves executives Tuesday afternoon to discuss an offer the union put on the table Monday. The union plans to meet with the approximately 70 crew members on the show later this afternoon to brief them on the details of the deal.
2ND UPDATE, 4:48 PM: IATSE has been called to a meeting with Fashion Star producers Magical Elves this afternoon, Deadline has learned. The face-to-face comes after the union put an offer before the producers of the NBC reality show to settle a labor dispute that started Saturday. “Talks are ongoing. The ball is in their court,” an IATSE spokesperson told Deadline earlier Tuesday. “We are still on strike.” Fashion Star is scheduled to resume taping tomorrow at 1:30 PM at Hollywood Center Studios. The union began discussions with Magical Elves yesterday. Four days after the crew walked off the job over health and pension benefits, picketing today was mainly centered on the De Longpre Avenue offices of the show in Hollywood. As of Tuesday afternoon, IATSE say they intend to be picketing tomorrow at Hollywood Center and the Magical Elves offices on Sunset.
NBC’s reality series Fashion Star is scheduled to tape today at Hollywood Center Studios. But I’ve learned the shoot has been suspended after the crew of the show went on strike this morning seeking union representation. The action was organized by IATSE, which estimates that there are more than 50 crew members currently on the sidewalk protesting. (UPDATE: Eyewitnesses report of only a handful of picketers.) A taping with audience, slated for 1:30 PM, has been scrapped. Fashion Star is produced by Ben Silverman’s Electus, 5X5 Media and Magical Elves Prods. It features Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos as judges and Louise Roe as new host, replacing creator/executive producer Elle Macpherson. IATSE has been active organizing reality series through strike actions, including similar recent protests against Spike TV’s 1000 Ways To Die and Face Off and TNT’s The Great Escape. One of the highest-profile IATSE-organzied strikes was against another NBC reality series, The Biggest Loser, in 2010.
British fashion journalist/TV presenter Louise Roe will replace Elle Macpherson as host of Fashion Star during for the NBC reality series’ upcoming second season. In the U.S., Roe, a fashion editor-at-large for Glamour, hosted the CW’s makeover series Plain Jane, which is in its third season on MTV International, and has regular fashion segments on Access Hollywood. She also co-hosted the Royal Wedding for E!, co-hosted MTV International’s live red-carpet coverage from the VMAs, Movie Awards and EMA’s, and co-anchored ABC’s Oscars coverage. In the UK, she hosted BBC’s The Clothes Show.
The network is yet to confirm, but I hear that NBC is renewing freshman reality series Fashion Star for a second season. The series, created by/exec produced/hosted by Elle Macpherson and featuring Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos, has not been a ratings standout, averaging a modest 1.3-1.5 in the adults 18-49, but it is very advertiser-friendly and has a successful fashion line offshoot, which may have tipped the scales in favor of renewal. “The show delivered a concentrated audience of rich urban women, and all the retailers did huge business,” one insider said. The list of Fashion Star-associated retailers includes biggies Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue. Fashion Star is produced by Ben Silverman’s Electus, 5X5 Media and Magical Elves Prods.
The second-season finale of NBC’s The Voice, originally scheduled to air from 8-10 PM on Tuesday May 8, will instead run from 9-11 PM. Fashion Star, which was to follow The Voice finale at 10 PM, will now lead into it at 8.
The daytime savings time continues to hammer 8-10 PM shows. Last night TV usage was down 6.5% from 8-10 PM, with the biggest decline, 11%, from 8-8:30 PM. Airing in that half hour, Fox’s Raising Hope (1.8/6) was down 14% from last week. At 8:30 PM, I Hate My Teenage Daughter (1.3/4) was down 19%. The losses carried over to New Girl (2.7/7), down 10%, and Breaking In (1.5/4), down 12% from its ho-hum second-season premiere last week.
ABC put a Last Man Standing rerun (1.3/4) in the most affected by the clock change 8-8:30 PM time period. At 8:30 PM, the special “Scrubs episode” of Cougar Town (1.4/4), featuring actors from Bill Lawrence’s previous series, was down 7%, while The River (1.3/4) fell 13%. Both posted series lows. At 10 PM, Body Of Proof (1.4/4) was steady, matchig its most recent original.
Also flat was NBC’s The Biggest Loser (2.0/9 from 8-9:30 PM). It was followed by the debut of Fashion Star, which managed a so-so 1.6/4, below the recent outings of dramedy Parenthood, which it replaced. With CBS in repeats, that was still good enough for a No.1 finish at 10 PM. NBC also had a rare No.1 finish for the night in 18-49, tied with Fox and CBS, which aired repeats. Both of CW’s dramas, 90210 and Ringer, fell a tenth of a rating point.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Ex-NBC programming chief Ben Silverman was back in a familiar spot this morning: At TCA in Pasadena, representing NBC. But this isn’t 2009, and there is a different guy atop of NBC Entertainment in Bob Greenblatt. Silverman was here as executive producer of the new NBC reality competition series Fashion Star that features host Elle Macpherson and mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos. So it was a different Silverman — more relaxed to be sure — but also in many ways the same guy: He still looked fashion-plate lean and the epitome of shrewd salesman. Silverman admitted that he didn’t see Greenblatt’s session earlier in the morning, quipping, “They were doing my hair.” Also not changed from the time Silverman was in Greenblatt’s chair is the plight of NBC, which continues to be stuck in fourth place, something the Jeff Zucker-Ben Silverman regime contributed to. When a critic pointed out that Greenblatt painted “such a sad picture” of NBC during his presentation, Silverman replied: “I’m thrilled to be making this show on NBC. I can’t imagine a better time period on television than following The Biggest Loser (also produced by Silverman) for the audience we want. … I feel incredibly happy and excited, and I’m betting on Bob. I love his creativity.” And how does it feel for Silverman to be back with so many of his “friends” in the media …