marc juris We TV

WE TV is moving up the launch date of its image makeover. The AMC Networks cabler is formally dropping the “Women’s Entertainment” tag as it shifts to targeting a broader, younger audience with edgier reality shows and more scripted series.

In the edgier reality show category is “Sex Box,” a reality show that features couples receiving relationship counseling from a panel of experts — after they’ve been intimate in a (camera-free) box. Series, based on a U.K. format, is targeted to premiere early next year.

“Our featured couples will get a once-in-a-lifetime experience, while our viewers will get the kind of bold, break-through-the-clutter programming they increasingly associate with WE TV,” WE TV prexy Marc Juris said.

The WE TV rebrand had been set to appear Oct. 1. But after meetings this month in Los Angeles with producers and other creatives working for the network, Juris decided to move up the rebrand launch to early next month.

“We just love the way it’s coming out,” said Juris, “and we are of the belief that sooner is better than later, so if it’s going to be ready we’re going to put it on the air.”

According to Juris, the meetings with creatives included producers from “L.A. Hair” and “Marriage Boot Camp” as well as Tamar Braxton and Vince Herbert of “Braxton Family Values,” and Cheryl “Coko” Clemens of “SWV Reunited.” The goal was to help them understand the network’s shift in tone and target aud.

“It really encouraged them to focus on the brand,” Juris said, adding that he’s surprised more cablers don’t hold such sessions.

“We wouldn’t have a brand without them so it’s just natural to include your creative partners in the process,” he said. “It’s really just about the brand and the environment and making it a little more gender neutral, and seem a little bit more relevant.”

WE TV’s branding features a new identity package with the network’s name embedded into attributes such as “PoWEr” and “WElcome Back,” and was conceived to adapt and “reflect the changing ways people interact with television and media,” Juris said. He realized that the network was in need of repositioning after signing on last fall.

“I think we’re seeing a much different tone in our on-air promotion,” he said, “and programing that is a little more high-concept – bigger broader ideas.”

The U.S. rendition of “Sex Box” hails from Relativity Television and exec producers Tom Forman and Brad Bishop. “It’s a little bit louder,” he said, “that helps us get noticed as well as it’s going to be a good show.”

The net is also making moves in the scripted arena, with Tony Goldwyn and Richard LaGravenese’s “The Divide,” following an advocacy caseworker and district attorney trying to sway the fate of a death-row inmate, and the upcoming supernatural drama “South of Hell,” “which is a different genre of scripted, so we’re excited about that,” added Juris, noting that there are somewhere around 15 additional projects in the works.

“There’s really just so many things that fortunately are working and we’ve had some great momentum. It’s a really fun time at the network,” he said.

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