The anticipated loss of “Project Runway,” its biggest hit show, didn’t put a damper on Bravo’s upfront presentation to reporters at a Tuesday press breakfast in New York as the network announced three new series.
“This is not a comeback story,” said Lauren Zalaznick, prexy of Bravo and its Oxygen sibling, alluding to the fact that Lifetime outbid Bravo for “Runway.” “Our story is continued momentum and record revenues and demographic ratings.”
Zalaznick declined to talk about the lawsuit that Bravo parent NBC Universal has filed against the Weinstein Co., which produces “Runway.” But she said Harvey Weinstein would not show up at the Bravo breakfast because he’s busy chauffeuring Jeff Zucker’s four kids to school. (At Lifetime’s upfront on Monday, Weinstein said he’ll be friends with Zucker again only after three years of indentured servitude, including getting Zucker’s kids to their classrooms every morning.)
“Runway” does have one more season on Bravo, beginning in July, but Frances Berwick, exec VP-general manager of Bravo Media, said the show is only one of 12 returning series, including “Top Chef” (fifth season), “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List” (fourth), “The Real Housewives of Orange County” (fourth) and “Top Design” (second).
Bravo has given a series go to three freshmen. “The Rachel Zoe Project,” from Original Media, follows a celebrity stylist as she works with “starlets, fashion houses, beauty firms and magazine editors.” “Date My Ex,” from Evolution Film & Tape, focuses on two of the principals from “Real Housewives of Orange County” as they re-enter the dating market. And another spinoff in the “Real Housewives” franchise, “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” zeroes in on five best friends and their “decorating, dating and fighting.”
The net has three projects in development: “Donatella,” a profile of New York restaurateur Donatella Arpaia; “Miami Social,” a portrait of a successful group of young, affluent professionals in South Beach; and “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover,” which centers on Tabatha Coffey, the beauty expert who began as a contestant on the first season of Bravo’s “Shear Genius,” which begins its second season in the summer.
Berwick said Bravo has so many firstrun series in production that it will be able to create a fourth night of originals, on Monday.
In an informal chat with reporters after the presentation, Zalaznick said that scripted series are not in the cards for Bravo because the network’s audience is attuned to the reality lineup, which has pushed its Nielsen ratings up every three months for the last 10 quarters.