Bravo bounds past showbiz

Net develops broader tastes

Bravo is pushing the boundaries of its pop culture mandate, unveiling a new round of development that’s less dependent on showbiz themes.

NBC Universal-owned cabler has announced details for six pilots in contention for 2006 pickups, including a self-help series from R.J. Cutler (“30 Days”) and a docudrama about wealthy divorcees.

Frances Berwick, senior VP of programming and production, said execs took a broader look at the definition of “pop culture” as they began to develop for next season. That’s because while Bravo hit ratings gold with fashion designer competish “Project Runway,” Hollywood-centric plays like “Project Greenlight” and “Situation Comedy” arrived almost DOA.

Berwick stood by the creative merits of “Greenlight” and “Comedy,” but admitted the shows were perhaps “too niche.”

“We’re developing very broadly right now,” she said, noting the six pilots rep a mere handful of the more than 20 shows in development at the channel. “We’re exploring new genres and formats — these are just a sampling. For Bravo, I think it’s about taking a fresh perspective.”

In potential skein “Surprise,” for example, cameras follow New York City caterer Laurence Craig as he plans and designs distinctive soirees.

“A show about parties is clearly not a new idea,” Berwick said. “But our take is on nontraditional events anchored around a strong personality in Laurence.”

Evolution Film & Tape (“Fear Factor”) and Becky Smith (“Queer Eye”) produce.

Pop culture week-in-review show “Dishing,” Berwick said, will be another opportunity for Bravo to inject its signature attitude. Picture This Television’s Bryan Scott and Marcia Mule (“The D-List”) produce.

Cabler will take a stab at satire in “This Evening With These People,” a reality TV/local news parody centered on the everyday drama of an average American Family as it would be told via nightly newscast. Stick Figure Prods. (“Family Bonds”) is producing.

“Fresh Start” (working title) is a self-help reality show in which deserving individuals leave their fate up to a literal role of the dice. Cutler and Jared Tobman (“The Amazing Race”) produce.

Then there’s “War of the Wives” and “Ex Wives Club.” In “War,” husbands who work in a creative field compete to see who can better train his wife in his own profession. IMG’s Steve Mayer (“Race to the Altar”) produces.

“Ex Wives” revolves around well-to-do divorcees who meet for regular support-group sessions. Tiger Aspect Prods.’ Chris Weber (“You’ve Got a Friend”) produces.

A fresh batch of “Queer Eye” also is on the docket for next year. Execs declined comment on a renewal for summer’s strong ratings performer “Being Bobby Brown.”

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