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.
Oxygen Slates Hidden Camera Series ‘Celebrities Undercover’ Produced By Wendy Williams & Featuring Kim Kardashian: Video
Oxygen Media has officially unveiled its half-hour hidden camera reality series Celebrities Undercover (see the trailer below), which will premiere March 18 following the debut of another new series, Chasing Maria Menounos. In June, the network quietly gave a green light to Celebrities Undercover (then Secret Celebrity) executive produced by talk show host Wendy Williams under her first-look deal at Oxygen. Each episode features two celebrities concealing their true identity with the use of prosthetic makeup to find out what unsuspecting fans and friends really think of them. In the series premiere, Williams goes undercover as a member of her own audience, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Kim Kardashian disguises herself at a group job interview as a fan hoping to become her new assistant.
Oxygen Media announced this morning it will “further delve” into the tattoo genre, picking up Tattoos After Dark, chronicling the “outrageous antics that take place” during the night shifts at two tattoo shops in Los Angeles — House of Ink, in the heart of the Venice boardwalk, and Ink Candy, steps away from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From the producers of Jersey Shore, Tattoos After Dark is scheduled to premiere in January 2014 with 12 half-hour episodes. Oxygen’s tattoo competition series Best Ink returns for Season 3 in December. Distributed by NBCUniversal, the format for Tattoos After Dark will be featured at MIPCOM this week.
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.
UPDATED: More top executive realignment at NBCU Cable Entertainment. In addition to Jeff Wachtel becoming President and Chief Content Officer, NBCU Cable Entertainment and Chris McCumber being named President, USA Network, Bravo topper Frances Berwick will take on oversight of Oxygen in addition to her current responsibilities. Jason Klarman, who had served as Oxygen Media president since 2010, is leaving the company (read his company memo below). “Frances has been responsible for generating the aspirational programming that’s made Bravo one of the most buzzed about brands in the business,” NBCU Cable Entertainment Bonnie Hammer said. “She’ll not only bring to Oxygen her impeccable brand savvy, but also identify key synergies to bring the same must-see passion to an all-new audience.” Berwick’s promotion consolidates two of NBCU’s pop culture brands, which also include E!. The fourth NBCU cable network with similar focus, Style, is being rebranded as Esquire Network, also part of the big changes unveiled today by Hammer after giving them “months of careful thought.”
After more than five years at Oxygen, I’ve decided it’s time to move on and take on a new challenge. It’s a decision I have weighed for some time and I’m confident it’s the right one.
They like their skin art over on Oxygen. The network announced today that not only is it bringing Best Ink back for a third season, but it also is developing two more tattoo series. “Best Ink has been a proven hit and our viewers have connected with the tattoo artists’ and their skins’ (clients) emotional stories. Season 3 will deliver bigger challenges, higher emotional stakes and contestants that will stop at nothing to prove they have the Best Ink,” said Rod Aissa, Oxygen’s SVP Original Programming and Development, in a statement today. The Season 2 finale of Best Ink is set to air Wednesday. Season 3 of the reality series is set to start in the winter, with Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz returning as host. Tattoo artist Joe Capobianco, tattoo removal shop owner Sabina Kelley and portrait tattoo specialist Hannah Aitchison return as judges for the search for the best tattoo artists nationwide. Best Ink is produced by Bunim/Murray Prods. Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, and Rick DeOlivera serve as executive producers.
UPDATE: Reign and Oxygen from CBS TV Studios also just got picked up, bringing the total number of new CW series for next season for five, including The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals. The only remaining question is whether The Selection, which never found its footing, is dead. (UPDATE: It is. Click here for more.)
PREVIOUS: The CW also entered the pickup fray with series orders to drama pilots The Tomorrow People and The 100. Both have been frontrunners, coming from Warner Bros TV. The Tomorrow People is executive produced by Julie Plec and Greg Berlanti, meaning that Plec will have three series on the CW next season, The Vampire Diaries, spinoff The Originals and The Tomorrow People. Berlanti will have two, The Tomorrow People and Arrow.
Here are the network’s descriptions of the new shows:
UPDATED: Irish actor Ed MacLiam (EastEnders) has been cast as the lead of ABC’s drama pilot Big Thunder. Also cast in the pilot, written by Jason Fuchs, directed by Rob Bowman and executive produced by Melissa Rosenberg, is Twilight‘s Alex Meraz, reuniting with the movie franchise’s writer, Rosenberg. Additionally, Ruth Bradley and Resident Evil‘s Spencer Locke have been added to the project, based on Disney’s roller coaster ride. It centers on Dr. Grant Carson (MacLiam), a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor. He and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful but mysterious tycoon, but quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems. Meraz, repped by Innovative and Leverage, plays a handsome Shoshone tribesman. Irish actress Bradley, who played the female lead in ABC/ABC Studio’s pilot Beauty And The Beast last season, plays Nora, a nanny with a dark, hidden past. The casting stems from her talent holding deal with ABC and ABC Studios. Locke, repped by APA, Jaymee Locke and Scott Whitehead, plays Lizzie, Carson’s beautiful and brilliant teenage daughter. Bradley is with Anonymous Content and UK’s Hamilton/Hodell.
That was quick — just a couple of days after the CW made the decision to end 90210 after this season, the network has tapped series co-star Matt Lanter as the male lead in its pilot Oxygen. The CW brass moved very quickly after the 90210 cancellation to offer Lanter Oxygen, and a deal was closed. The project, written by Meredith Averill and directed by Gary Fleder, centers on Emery (Aimee Teegarden), a teen girl who falls in love with Roman (Lanter), an alien boy, one of nine of his kind integrated into a suburban high school. CBS TV Studio is producing. Lanter is with WME and manager Faras Rabadi.
Actor-comedian Moshe Kasher has been cast opposite Rob Corddry and Mason Cook in ABC’s comedy pilot Spy, about Tim (Corddry), a well-intentioned father of a highly intelligent and verbal son (Cook) who inadvertently takes a job at the Secret Service in order to prove himself a worthy father. Kasher, repped by 3 Arts and WME, will play Tim’s co-worker Chris. He is currently writing on The New Normal.
Malcolm In The Middle alum Chris Masterson co-stars opposite Jeffery Tambor in Amazon Studios’ comedy pilot, The Onion Presents: The News, a fast-paced scripted comedy set behind the scenes of The Onion News Network. Masterson plays rookie reporter Scott West, who joins the team full of hope and idealism but quickly learns from the demented ONN ensemble that the world of network news is more about selling soda and sunscreen and kidnapping cute white girls to get ratings, than uncovering actual news.
Luke Mitchell (Home And Away) has landed a lead in the CW drama pilot The Tomorrow People three weeks after arriving in Los Angeles from his native Australia. Written/exec produced by Phil Klemmer based on the …
Wendy Williams just announced the formation of her own production company and now has a client. Oxygen Media has signed Williams to a development deal in which her company will find, develop and produce original programming. She will also serve as an executive producer on Oxygen’s new in-development project Secret Celebrity, which is part of the network’s plan to expand its schedule of original programming from two to three nights a week. Williams will also appear as a guest judge on the modeling competition series The Face, which premieres February 12.
In addition to Secret Celebrity, which features celebrities in disguise who surprise unsuspecting fans, Oxygen said today in advance of its upfront event that it has a new pilot, This Week The Award Goes To…, a comedic talk show that offers up over-the-top awards to pop culture figures. It joins a 2013 lineup that includes returning series I’m Having Their Baby, the network’s highest-rated new series last season, and tattoo competition series Best Ink with new host Pete Wentz.
Here’s the network’s description of the new projects:
The network announced today at the TCA winter press tour that four more unscripted projects geared toward its young female demo have been greenlighted: the original series Fat Girl Revenge, Find Me My Man, and Too Young To Marry? and the pilot Propos’d. The three new series join Oxygen‘s new competition series The Face, which premieres February 12, and returning series Best Ink and I’m Having Their Baby. The network last month also gave the go-ahead to All My Babies’ Mamas, a one-hour unscripted special from former top MTV executives-turned-producers Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, which is eyeing a spring premiere and likely will serve as a backdoor pilot if it performs well. Here are the network’s descriptions of the new shows announced today:
EXCLUSIVE: The CW is boosting its sci-fi cred with Oxygen, an alien drama in the vein of District 9. It hails from Space Floor TV’s Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg and Olé’s Richard Shepard, Sean Furst and Bryan Furst.
Written by Meredith Averill (The Good Wife) based on a format developed by Daniel Gutman of Pow Wow and Spanish producer Isla Producciones, Oxygen follows a high school pilot program, the first attempt to integrate a group of humanoid aliens stranded on earth who until now have been living in forced segregation. The program is complicated by the prejudices and competing agendas on all sides, and could be saved or destroyed by a burgeoning romance between a human girl and alien boy.