EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Oxygen has quietly given the green light to Secret Celebrity, a reality series produced by T Group Prods, which Wendy Williams executive produces as part of her first-look deal with the cable network. Per Oxygen’s description when the project was announced in February as being in development, Secret Celebrity features stars in disguise as they surprise unsuspecting fans, friends and family. I hear celebrities who already have filmed episodes of the show include Nick Lachey, Ice-T & Coco and LuAnn de Lesseps, who just signed on to return to The Real Housewives Of New York on sibling Bravo. T Group’s Jenny Daly executive produces with Williams and Gunnar Wetterberg.
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:
Talk show host Wendy Williams and her manager-husband Kevin Hunter have formed Wendy Williams Prods, a production company that will focus on development and production of reality, game and talk shows for the cable and broadcast markets. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, producer-distributor of Williams’ nationally syndicated The Wendy Williams Show, will be a partner in the new company, which has tapped veteran producer Lisa Knapp as SVP Development. Williams will serve as executive producer of the projects developed through her company and may also have an on-camera role in some. “This is a dream come true,” she said. “As anyone who watches my show knows, I am a huge fan of all reality and game shows, and know a thing or two about talk.”