BBC Worldwide Prods. series follows life in small town after all femmes depart

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime has picked up BBC Worldwide Prods. format “The Week the Women Went,” an unscripted series depicting what happens to a town when its entire adult female population disappears and men are left to fill every household and community role.

The town of Yemassee, S.C. was chosen for the televised social experiment, an adaptation of a program that premiered on BBC3 in 2005 and became one of the channel’s top-rated unscripted offerings. Six hourlong episodes, depicting the women’s seven-day absence, will air in Lifetime’s debut season.

The actual departures of the women from Yemassee took place Sunday.

“Women play crucial roles in today’s world as wives, mothers, business owners and community leaders,” said Lifetime prexy/g.m. Nancy Dubuc. “This massive shift in responsibilities among women and men has always been a provocative subject and something we’ve wanted to tackle. ‘The Week the Women Went’ will push the boundaries of television by learning what happens to women and men, and a society.”

The search for the centerpiece town began months ago (Daily Variety, Feb. 25), at which point the project had been given a contingent greenlight by BBC Worldwide Prods. Yemassee emerged as the place of choice from an extensive search that included 96 towns.

Jon Kroll, Elli Hakami and BBC Worldwide Prods. programming and production EVP Jane Tranter will exec produce with Rob Sharenow, Gena McCarthy and Colleen Conway of Lifetime.

” ‘The Week the Women Went’ is a truly groundbreaking and innovative format,” Tranter said. “Never before has television taken U.S. audiences on a journey where an entire community opens the window into every aspect of their lives. We’re thrilled to be working with Lifetime to bring viewers an experience that is not only entertaining, but also incredibly enlightening.”

The format has been sold in countries including Canada (CBC), Germany (Kabel 1), Sweden (SVT), Belgium (VRT), Denmark (TV2), Norway (TV2), Finland (YLE) and Holland (SBS), France (France Televisions) and India (Star Plus).

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