'Wives,' yakker draw greenlight

Bravo has greenlit “War of the Wives,” a six-episode reality-competition series, and signed Joan Rivers to develop a pop-culture talkshow loaded with barbed comments aimed at high-visibility celebrities.

These projects were unveiled Wednesday at the cabler’s upfront presentation for reporters in New York, with Bravo prexy Lauren Zalaznick presiding.

Zalaznick said Bravo is piling up the best Nielsen ratings in its 26-year history among upscale adults 18-49 and 25-54, riding the success of such ongoing reality series as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Project Runway,” “Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Top Chefs.”

The Rivers show, tentatively titled “Joan Rivers: Can We Dish,” was one of five series in development put forward by Frances Berwick, Bravo’s senior VP of programming. The four others are “Heads Up,” which pits 16 hairstylists against each other; “The Inn Crowd,” featuring teams of businesspeople jostling for the privilege to own and operate an inn in a busy resort area; “Top Decorator,” another competitive challenge, for interior designers seeking to set up their own design firm in New York; and a series of standup-comedy specials starring Paula Poundstone, in her first TV spec in a decade, Caroline Rhea and Rivers.

Bravo has also created BrilliantButCancelled.com and OutZoneTV.com, two broadband channels, which it defines as Web sites to be stocked with videos downloadable onto computers for free, with a 30-second commercial edited into the beginning of each show. Many of these videos are also available sans commercials for $1.99 apiece at iTunes.

Brilliant But Cancelled was the umbrella title for a batch of failed network-TV series carried by Bravo sister network Trio, which folded last year, morphing into the Trio.com Web site. The Brilliant But Cancelled Web site kicks off May 23, with such series as “EZ Streets,” the stylized cop show that brought attention to its creator Paul Haggis (“Crash”), and “Johnny Staccato,” which starred John Cassavetes as a jazz musician/private detective.

Bravo calls OutZoneTV.com, which begins June 1, “the first-ever broadband channel specifically targeted to the gay and lesbian online community.” It will include vintage movies and TV shows, documentaries and photos. Web site will encourage people to submit their own work and set up links to blogs and community events.

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