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Bravo’s New Development Head Lara Spotts Discusses Plans for Reality and Scripted

Spotts assumes new role after over five years with Bravo, 15 freelancing in TV

As Andy Cohen transitions out of his role as an executive at Bravo, a new member of the NBCU cabler’s brass has been tapped to lead the charge in Bravo’s scripted and unscripted development.

With over five years under her belt at Bravo, Lara Spotts will be the new exec shepherding fresh series to the net on both the east and west coast after serving most recently as veep of development. The Bravo programs that Spotts has had the biggest hand in developing are unscripted programs “Newlyweds” and “Work of Art.” Forthcoming skein “Southern Charm” also hails from Spotts’ development wheelhouse.

When it comes to new reality formats at the net known for “Real Housewives” and “Million Dollar Listing,” Spotts told Variety that she aims to capture the “wealthy backdrops,” sudsy characters and “OMG! moments” that Bravo is known for, but in fresh, unexpected ways. “Below Deck,” a reality show centering on the crew of a luxury yacht, brought an “Upstairs Downstairs” feel to the net, according to Spotts, and though the main cast does not boast a rich lifestyle, the background of the show does, thereby maintaining Bravo’s signature, glossy look.

“The idea of authenticity is something we’re interested in more of,” Spotts said. “Universal touchstones that have happened in other people’s lives…we want to portray them in an exciting, juicy, Bravo way. We like concepts that tap into something zeitgeisty. Our limited run of ‘People’s Couch’ speaks to that.”

Spotts will also be spearheading Bravo’s scripted development in her new post. The exec herself boasts a background in the scripted space in addition to her years producing reality TV, having served as a staff writer on “The L Word.” Spotts also penned and produced “One Sung Hero,” a short film that bowed at Sundance in 2006.

“We see scripted as an opportunity to recruit new viewers,” Spotts remarked. “We want to make sure there’s a point of entry for men, and for co-viewing, but we also want to make sure we’re catering to our main and hardcore audience.”

Bravo is currently wrapping production on its “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” pilot, a scripted project from Marti Noxon that Spotts calls “a perfect fit for the network.” Bravo also has a scripted presentation in the works, along with a dozen scripts that the net is actively working with.

Cohen is one of the rare breeds of TV execs who crossed over into mainstream culture, and certainly leaves big shoes to be filled after developing some of Bravo’s most successful reality hits. Cohen has set up a first-look deal with the network under his new banner Most Talkative.

“Andy’s legacy is indelible,” Spotts said. “He’s been an amazing mentor for five and a half years. There’s no way that his spirit won’t continue to be our lighthouse as we figure out new shows. It’s going to be ‘What would Andy do?’ for awhile.”

Spotts then added, “And I can’t wait till he has to come to pitch me.”

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