Nash project preems June 22, piggybacks popular skein

TBS’ aggressive bid to get younger is kicking into high gear.

Cabler has pacted with reality maven Bruce Nash, producer of such NBC hits as “For Love or Money” and “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?,” greenlighting eight episodes of a reality relationship show that will serve as complement the highly hyped off-net premiere of “Sex and the City.”

TNT/TBS exec veep-chief operating officer Steve Koonin told Daily Variety that the Nash-produced skein would premiere June 22, piggybacking an episode of “Sex and the City,” which he revealed would launch June 15.

The Turner-owned net snapped up the rights to the Sarah Jessica Parker-led comedy last year with plans to run the show four times a week in primetime starting in June — a 15-month jump on its syndication run (Daily Variety, Sept. 30).

“The plan is for ‘Sex in the City’ to drive its hopefully large audience to this new show,” Koonin said. “We think Bruce is a terrific producer, and we’re very excited about this idea and the twists and turns it will take. We’re looking for people who want to have the adventure of their lifetime.”

The as-yet-untitled project reps the first series TBS has locked in since announcing its planned transition into the reality arena last summer. The cabler shuttered its original movie unit in August, the first move in an overall brand repositioning strategy aimed at attracting younger auds with off-net sitcoms and original reality.

Among ad-supported cablers last year, TBS placed second to sister net TNT in viewers 18-49 and topped 18-34 rankings.

Hourlong skein combines the search for love with fantastic adventure. Auditions for “beautiful, adventurous, single women to be sexy leading ladies” are under way, according to a casting call. Casting criteria specifies that the women have a valid passport and be willing to travel. Production is scheduled to begin in April.

Koonin and Nash were tight-lipped about the show’s specifics, but Nash hinted the series would have fish-out-of-water elements in addition to “the best of romantic-comedy and adventure movies.”

“It’s definitely going to be the biggest reality series I’ve ever produced,” Nash said. “I can say that with certainty. It’s like we’re making a movie.”

Koonin said the project is one of two unscripted series the cabler will present during its upfront presentation, with the second project slated to premiere later in the year. He noted that the Turner-owned net would unveil its new on-air look, logo and tagline at that time.

“It’s great to be on the ground floor with TBS as they dive into reality,” Nash said. “I’ve been watching the network since before it was the ‘Superstation’ and Ted Turner himself was hosting ‘Academy Award Theatre.’ “

In addition to its lineup of light entertainment/reality originals, the new TBS lineup will include its current stable of hosted-movie franchises (“Dinner and a Movie,” “Movie and a Makeover” et al.), theatrical features and off-net comedies including “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” Channel will begin stripping “Everybody Loves Raymond” in the fall.

CAA-repped Nash recently sold the gender-bender reality concept “Awfully Pretty” to UPN (Daily Variety, Feb. 2). Other credits include “Meet My Folks, “For Better or Worse,” “Totally Outrageous Behavior” and “Mr. Personality.”

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