Unscripted series gets 20-episode order

Lifetime has greenlighted another project for “Project Runway” mainstay Heidi Klum — with kooky kids subbing for designers and models.

The Klum-hosted “Seriously Funny Kids” is scheduled for a 2011 launch on Lifetime, which has ordered 20 half-hour episodes from LMNO Prods. Klum will exec produce with Eric Schotz and fellow “Runway”-ans Desiree Gruber and Jane Cha.

“‘Seriously Funny Kids’ will continue to diversify our original programming schedule,” Lifetime prexy and general manager Nancy Dubuc said, “as we move forward developing and ordering new series that strengthen Lifetime’s powerful combination of reality, scripted programs and movies year-round.”

Television has been relying on kids to amuse audiences with unwittingly funny quips since “Kids Say the Darndest Things” was a popular feature on “Art Linkletter’s House Party” roughly half a century ago. Subsequently, Bill Cosby hosted a show of the same title that ran on CBS from 1998-2000.

But Schotz downplayed the comparison when development on the show was announced in June (Daily Variety, June 30), saying the Lifetime show would be less host-centric and more kid-centric.

Said Klum: “I have four children under the age of 6, and to be honest, sometimes I enjoy them more than adults. They’re uncensored, unpredictable and absolutely hilarious. The kids will be the absolute stars of this show.”The new series will be an additional test of the drawing power of Klum, who has helped make “Project Runway” basic cable’s most-watched reality competition program in principal female demos.

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