New reality skin brings models into focus

VH1 is cornering the market on model-centric reality television.

Net will team up with the Wilhelmina modeling agency and GRB Entertainment on reality show “The Agency,” a behind-the-scenes look at the skin-deep world.

Skein, focused on Wilhelmina’s booking agents, began taping Monday; 10 resulting half-hour episodes will start airing weekly in 2006.

Announcement comes just after channel picked up reruns of UPN hit “America’s Next Top Model.” VH1 reportedly paid $75,000 per episode and has rights to 77 segs through the as-yet-untaped fifth and sixth seasons.

Exec veep of programming and production Michael Hirschorn said the show seemed like a good fit for the increasingly pop culture-oriented web. Hirschorn noted the success of “Top Model” on the channel has “given us reason to believe that this is something people who watch VH1 are interested in seeing. It’s a logical progression.”

“Model” began airing on VH1 in earnest Thursday with a season-one marathon. There’s no word yet on whether “The Agency” will be coupled with “Model” in a viewing block.

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