PREVIOUS 8:50 AM: I’ve learned that Bravo has opted not to go forward with its pilot Rita. Written by Krista Vernoff, directed by Miguel Arteta and produced by Fox TV Studios, the family drama follows Rita (Anna Gunn), an acerbic, outspoken private-school teacher who struggles to raise her three teenage children while dealing with the inane bureaucracy and overprotective parents at her school. Rita, which had been generating solid buzz, was one of two drama pilots greenlighted by Bravo last December in its first foray into scripted series. The other, Joneses, was shelved in March before filming had begun. Bravo’s plan had been to launch its first scripted series in fourth quarter of 2013, which now won’t happen. The network’s initial scripted strategy and the orders to Rita and The Joneses were made while Bravo was overseen by Lauren Zalaznick. The channel has since moved under the jurisdiction of Bonnie Hammer.
Bravo Unveils Slate Of 17 New And 18 Returning Series, Announces Scripted & Unscripted Projects In Development
Bravo Media today unveiled what it says is its largest slate of original programming ever with 17 newly greenlighted and 18 returning unscripted series. That is a 15% increase over last year. Bravo also announced three new scripted and three unscripted projects in development. Bravo’s first scripted pilot, Rita, is now in production as the network is eying a launch of its first scripted series in the fourth quarter. (Bravo’s second scripted pilot, The Joneses, did not go to production.) Bravo logged its seventh consecutive year of ratings growth in 2012 and is currently running up vs. last year in total viewers and the 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. “Bravo’s ongoing investment in high-quality original content across every platform continues to drive our growth year-over-year,” said Frances Berwick, President of Bravo and Style Media. Bravo, which recently moved under the oversight of NBCU cable maven Bonnie Hammer, also is expanding its multi-screen initiatives and increasing the number of TV360 deals. The network’s slate introduced today indicates that creatively, Bravo is staying the course, at least for now. Here are the details on new and returning series and projects in development:
NEW SERIES GREENLIGHTS:
“Below Deck” – Summer 2013
Produced by 51 Minds with Mark Cronin and Courtland Cox as Executive Producers.
The upstairs and downstairs worlds collide when this young and single crew, known as “yachties,” live, love and work together onboard a privately owned extravagant yacht. Working and tending to the ever-changing needs of their demanding charter guests is not always smooth sailing.
Flight Of The Conchords‘ Rhys Darby will co-star opposite Kelly Preston in ABC‘s comedy pilot Keep Calm And Karey On, from writer Andrea Abbate, 21 Laps/Adelstein and 20th Century Fox TV. It centers on Karey (Preston), the clean-nosed black sheep in a family of petty thieves, drug addicts, and narcissists. When her brother is sent to prison, she decides to raise his kids along with her adopted black son and give them the normal lives they deserve. Actor-comedian Darby, repped by CAA and Principato-Young, will play Karey’s husband. He is best known for playing Murray in HBO’s Conchords and most recently wrote, executive produced and starred in Short Poppies for TVNZ in his native New Zealand.
Rhys Wakefield has booked a series regular role on Bravo pilot Rita. He will play Rita’s (Anna Gunn) oldest son who has a close but complex relationship with his mother. Wakefield is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
Leverage alumna Beth Riesgraf has been cast in CBS’ drama pilot Surgeon General. Written by Samuel Baum and produced by CBS TV Studios, the project centers on Dr. John Sherman (Jason Isaacs) — the most powerful doctor in the nation, the Surgeon General, who has 315 million patients. Riesgraf will play Dr. Page Wyatt, an expert in microorganisms.
Rafi Gavron (Snitch) and Anisha Nagarajan have joined the cast of Bravo‘s hourlong pilot Rita. Written by Krista Vernoff and directed by Miguel Arteta, the family drama follows Rita (Anna Gunn), an acerbic, outspoken private-school teacher who struggles to raise her three teenage children while dealing with the inane bureaucracy and overprotective parents at her school. Gavron, repped by Affirmative and Nelson Davis Wetzstein, plays Rita’s cool, easygoing eldest son; Nagarajan plays an eager new teacher.
EXCLUSIVE: Josh Hamilton has landed the male lead opposite Anna Gunn in Bravo‘s hourlong pilot Rita. Written by Krista Vernoff and directed by Miguel Arteta, Rita is a Fox TV Studios-produced adaptation of a Danish series. It is a family drama that follows Rita (Gunn), an acerbic, outspoken private-school teacher who struggles to raise her three teenage children while dealing with the inane bureaucracy and overprotective parents at her school. Hamilton will play Terrence, the principal at Cabbott Academy who is infatuated with the enigmatically sexy Rita but for her, their relationship is one of convenience.
Johnny Ray Gill (Harry’s Law, True Blood) is set as a regular on the upcoming third season of the AMC’s drama The Killing, also from FtvS. Season 3 follows Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) as she investigates the disappearance of another teen girl. Gill will play Alton Singleterry, a low-level gangbanger who may be on death row but hasn’t let that dampen his spirit. While Alton may think he can dictate his own fate through manipulation and persistence, he will learn there are other forces in his world that can affect his trajectory in ways he could never have imagined before. Gill, repped by Bauman, Redanty & Shaul and New Wave, will next be seen in Sundance Channel’s upcoming series Rectify.
EXCLUSIVE: Miguel Arteta is set to direct Bravo‘s hourlong pilot Rita, one of the cable network’s first two scripted pilots greenlighted last month. Written by Krista Vernoff, Rita is is an adaptation of a Danish format. It is a family drama that follows an acerbic, outspoken private-school teacher who struggles to raise her three teenage children while dealing with the inane bureaucracy and overprotective parents at her school. In addition to directing, Arteta will executive produce the Fox TV Studios pilot alongside Vernoff, Henrik Bastin and Mikkel Bondesen. Bravo plans to debut its first original scripted series in the fourth quarter of 2013. Arteta directed the pilot for the CW’s midseason drama The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to Sex And The City. His recent episodic directing credits include The New Normal, Enlightened, Nurse Jackie, American Horror Story: Asylum and New Girl.
EXCLUSIVE: Bravo is taking a step toward launching its first original scripted series with the pickup of its first scripted pilots, both from established female writer-producers and based on existing properties. The cable network has given the green light to Liz Tigelaar’s The Joneses and Krista Vernoff’s Rita. The Joneses, from ABC Studios, is based on the 2009 indie film of the same name that starred Demi Moore and David Duchovny. Rita, from Fox TV Studios, is an adaptation of a Danish format. Bravo plans to debut its first original scripted series in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Bravo brass announced their intent to enter original scripted programming last year. The network’s efforts in the arena shifted into high gear in March when the network hired Andrew Wang as VP Scripted Development & Production. The network put a slew of projects in development, with The Joneses and Rita emerging with the first pilot orders. “We went out looking for shows that spoke to the Bravo brand of great aspirational female-driven upscale worlds” and came from strong creative auspices, Wang said.