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Upfronts: Bravo, Oxygen, Esquire Unveil 23 New Shows in Upbeat Upfront Pitch

NBCUniversal’s lifestyle cablers Bravo, Oxygen and Esquire are loading up on new unscripted programs for the coming year, with each of the three outlets upping the quantity of original hours on their air by double digits.

Bravo’s 10 new entries include a road-trip series featuring “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fan-faves NeNe Leakes (pictured left) and Kim Zolciak Biermann (right), and “Ladies of Dallas,” a look at the over-the-top antics of social climbers in the Lone Star state. “Mother Funders” is a “Real Housewives”-esque look at a group of alpha moms who run a Parent-Teacher Organization in a small Georgia town.

Bravo is also launching its first scripted comedy series, “Odd Mom Out,” later this year, on the heels of its inaugural drama series, “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce,” which has been renewed for a second season.

Oxygen and Esquire are partnering on an ambitious effort to produce separate docu-series featuring the same cast of Los Angeles-based comedians who are on the verge of breaking out.

“Living With Funny” on Oxygen will focus on the personal lives and relationships that the comics juggle offstage. Esquire’s “Comedians of L.A.” focuses on their working lives. The two shows will premiere at the same time and be cross-promoted on both nets. Brandon T. Jackson is the first comic to sign on for the show. Jackson was on hand for the Bravo/Oxygen/Esquire upfront press presentation Monday afternoon at Manhanttan’s Andaz Hotel.

The “Living With Funny”/“Comedians of L.A.” crossover effort is an example of the programming and promotional collaboration that Frances Berwick vowed to bring to the NBCU lifestyle cablers last year when she was promoted to president of the unit that also includes E! Entertainment.

Berwick noted that when the producers at L. Plummer Media came to pitch the show, her development team that realized the series concept of peering behind the scenes in the lives of comedians could work for both Esquire and Oxygen. “We thought there was no reason why we couldn’t try to make it work for both.”

Berwick, a native of Blighty, opened the presentation by noting the promising start for E! ’s first scripted drama, “The Royals.” “I will answer to ‘Your Majesty,’ ” she quipped.

The presentation was also enlivened by a surprise performance by the Prancing Elites, a male dance team who sashayed into the hotel conference room to the beat of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” A docu-series about the group is set to premiere on Oxygen next month.

Leakes, who was also on hand to talk up her new show, told the five dancers: “Look at your eyelashes — they’re better than mine, and that is a problem.”

NBCU execs emphasized the youthful, affluent and “brand influencer” nature of the aud for the three cablers. Oxygen and E! have been undergoing a makeover under the direction of Berwick and her lieutenants, Esquire and E! prexy Adam Stotsky and Oxygen programming exec VP Rod Aissa.

“We are three unique spaces on the television dial,” said Stotsky. “We have tons of momentum and tons of great ideas.”

Oxygen’s eight freshman offerings include a show about female football players in the Legends Football League and “The Hustle,” a look at assistants to entrepreneurs and showbiz types, which hails from Nick Cannon’s NCredible Entertainment banner.

Esquire’s five new shows include “Somm,” which follows six New Yorkers who are vying for the title of Master Sommelier, and the culinary competition series “The United States of Burgers.”

Four contenders from “Somm” were on hand to show off their pouring skills at the close of the 90-minute presentation. The Prancing Elites also hung around to strut their stuff with an assist from Leakes.

Here are detailed descriptions of new shows from Bravo:

“Après Ski” (working title) 
Co-Produced by Tricon Films & Television and Bravo with Andrea Gorfolova, Jeff Hervet, Kevin Lee and Jameel Bharmal serving as Executive Producers.

When the rich and famous want the ultimate winter ski vacation, the hottest place to go is Whistler, British Columbia, where breathtaking mountain adventures are rivaled only by off-slope après ski extravagance. In a town where the stakes are as high as the slopes, meet the well-groomed staff at this luxurious concierge company who are the behind-the-scenes magic-makers orchestrating once in a lifetime vacations for their upscale and demanding clients.

“Below Deck Mediterranean” 
Produced by 51 Minds Entertainment, an Endemol Company, with Mark Cronin and Courtland Cox serving as executive producers.

The “Below Deck” franchise is heading to the world’s oldest cruising grounds, the Mediterranean Sea, for its next super-yacht charter season. The new European setting not only provides spectacular scenery, culture and nightlife, but a whole new level of service standards and charter guest demands.

“Fit Club” (working title) 
Produced by Kate Little, Claire Poyser and Derek McLean of Lime Pictures, Eli Holzman, Stephen Lambert and Jacob Cohen-Holmes of All3 Media America along with executive producers Tess Gamboa and John Platt.

It’s survival of the fittest for New York City’s hottest trainers who are competing for the same wealthy Manhattanites and famous celebrity clients. If they can’t keep their romances, feuds and professional jealousies in check, things could get physical.

“Ladies of Dallas” (working title) 
Produced by Goodbye Pictures with Rich Bye and Andrew Hoegl serving as executive producers.

From glamorous galas to scintillating scandals, and supersized spending habits, life in the elite tier of the Dallas social scene is hard to crack, and even harder to maintain. Whether driven by vanity, personal validation or career advancement, these Lone Star ladies all share the same goal — to climb the social ladder and stay on top.

“Married to Medicine Houston” 
Produced by Fremantle North America and developed by Purveyors of Pop with Matt Anderson and Nate Green serving as executive producers.

The popular franchise heads to the largest medical community in the country for “Married to Medicine Houston.”  These diverse and driven young doctors and wives of physicians look like they have it all — they’re educated, sexy and at the top of their game. But peel back the layers and you will see that new obstacles might threaten their momentum. After punishing years of sacrifice and putting life on hold, how they navigate marriage, children, family and social pressure will either derail their promising careers or prove that they can have it all.

“My Fab 40th”
 Produced by Fremantle North America, and developed by Purveyors of Pop, with Thom Beers, Matt Anderson, Nate Green, and Maty Buss serving as executive producers.

Delve into the world of extravagant 40th birthday parties where people put some serious “happy” into a righteous rite of passage. From unlimited budgets to lavish delicacies and over-the-top entertainment, fans will see why turning 40 is such a gift.

“Mother Funders”
 Produced by True Entertainment with Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh, Lauren Eskelin, Jen Morton and Leola Westbrook as executive producers.

Meet the ambitious suburban ladies of Locust Grove, Georgia’s Parent-Teacher Organization. These moms are a real class act, parlaying their executive room experience to run the local PTO and raise thousands of dollars for the town’s local elementary school. Full of teachable moments, they give new meaning to “getting schooled.”

“NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches” (working title)
Produced by True Entertainment with Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Lauren Eskelin along with NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak Biermann serving as executive producers.

Atlanta’s “most driven” housewives — NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak Biermann — drive out of their comfort zones and across the country to discover America on a one-of-a-kind adventure. The road to L.A. may be paved with good intentions, but that doesn’t mean they won’t occasionally drive each other crazy.

“Tour Group” (working title)
Produced by Monkey Kingdom with Will Macdonald, Jason Crosby and Amy Chacon serving as executive producers.

A diverse and vibrant group set out on a mind-blowing vacation through the most stunning, eclectic and exclusive destinations around the globe. With varied personalities forced together in foreign environments, will this two month dream journey become too much adventure for these jetsetters, or will they make it a permanent vacation?

“Recipe for Deception” 
Produced by Embassy Row and Realizer Productions with Shauna Minoprio, Matt Berkowitz and Michael Davies serving as executive producers.

It is a battle of secrets and knives in this fast-paced and innovative self-contained cooking competition series where a chef’s cunning is almost as important as their culinary skill. In each stand-alone episode, host Max Silvestri guides four new chefs through head-to-head elimination rounds in which they are tasked with creating a stunning dish featuring a main ingredient. The twist is that they have no idea what that ingredient is while cooking. Based on the popular parlor game ‘Two Truths and a Lie,’ competing chefs ask each other three yes or no questions to determine what their mystery ingredient is, and their opponent answers strategically with two truthful answers and one outright lie. If you can’t stand deceit, get out of the kitchen.

Here are descriptions of Oxygen’s new shows:

“Living With Funny” (working title)
 Produced by L. Plummer Media with Lemuel Plummer serving as executive producer.
This companion docu-series showcases the personal lives behind the curtain of rising comedians in Hollywood and the women in their lives. Cameras will follow the howling tale of what happens when they drop the mic and come home to their family, friends and significant others. Because when you are a comedian, the jokes don’t stop just because the show does. Brandon T. Jackson is the first comedian to commit to both series. Additional cast will be announced at later date.

“Crazy Talk”
Produced and distributed in the U.S. by NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution with Paul Faulhaber serving as executive producer.

Hosted by Tanisha Thomas (“Bad Girls Club”) and Ben Aaron (WNBC’s “New York Live”), the fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny, syndicated firstrun daily program raises an eyebrow on the most outlandish and sometimes bizarre moments on reality television. Taped in front of a live studio audience, this half-hour series filled with raw and hilarious banter also invites reality stars to rehash their “15 minutes of fame” and provide insight behind their most-watched clips.

“Pretty. Strong.”
 Produced by Relativity Television and Ellen Rakieten Entertainment with Tom Forman, Brad Bishop and Ellen Rakieten serving as executive producers.

It is football like you have never seen it before as fierce, young women engage in one of the roughest, yet fastest growing sports in the country — the Legends Football League. This is full-contact, hard-tackle football with two-time reigning champions the Chicago Bliss going for the coveted three-peat. These athletes are juggling careers as dentists, lawyers, and receptionists, but come game time, they are on a girl power-fueled mission to inspire, blaze trails and define the odds.

“The Hustle” (working title)
Produced by NCredible Entertainment with Nick Cannon and Michael Goldman serving as executive producers in association with Evolution Media with Douglas Ross, Alex Baskin and Greg Stewart serving as executive producers.

Being a boss is tough, but being an assistant is impossible. This coming-of-age series follows the dynamic and hard-working assistants to successful entrepreneurs and entertainers. With blood, sweat and tears, these ambitious twentysomethings are willing to do whatever it takes to learn the ropes one step at a time so they can climb the ranks. These assistants are exposed to a life of privilege at work, traveling on private jets and attending lavish red-carpet events, however, at the end of the day, they struggle just to pay rent and find time for their own personal lives.

“Player Gets Played” 
Produced by DiGA with Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley and Cheryl Horner Sirulnick serving as executive producers.

In each episode, one woman with a lurking suspicion will uncover a heartbreaking truth with the help of social media and friends when it’s revealed she is not the only woman in her boyfriend’s life. These young women are given the ultimate opportunity to change the game without letting him in on the plan. The newly empowered women will join together and plot a surprising confrontation to give the player a taste of his own medicine.

“Douglas Family Gold” (working title)
Produced by WV Enterprises in association with Lionsgate TV and Televisa USA with Wilmer Valderrama, Jessica Acevedo, Natalie Hawkins and Gabrielle Douglas serving as executive producers.

Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas stunned the world in 2012 by becoming the first African American in history to win the individual all-around gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Behind her meteoric rise was a supportive family willing to sacrifice everything for years to help her dream. Now 19, Gabby is ready to do it all over again in hopes of making it back to the medal podium in 2016. The Douglas family shuttles between California and Ohio to support Gabby’s training regimen while also juggling their own lives.  Her brother John is the family’s second Olympic hopeful in track and field, while devoted sisters Arie and Joy are eager to blaze their own paths. “Momager” Natalie keeps this tight-knit family in check, knowing regardless of what happens, “Team Douglas” has already won gold.

“Boss Nails”
Produced by Jarrett Creative, with Julie Jarrett, Seth Jarrett and Carmen Mitcho serving as executive producers and Rock Shrimp Productions NYC with Bobby Flay and Kim Martin serving as executive producers.

Welcome to Tippie Toes Nail & Beauty Salon where Miami’s fashionistas come for one-of-a-kind pop-culture nail designs. This series centers on 26-year-old burgeoning business owner Dana Cody, known for her signature crystal embellished manicures that cost upwards of $10,000, as she juggles managing her boisterous staff, expanding her salon empire, and living up to the legacy her late mother left behind.

“Preachers of Atlanta” 
Produced by L. Plummer Media in association with Relevé Entertainment with Lemuel Plummer, Holly Carter, Chris Costine and Mark Scheibal serving as executive producers.

Atlanta is the home not only to fast cars, sprawling mansions and the southern elite, but a new generation of up-and-coming preachers who are superstars of the pulpit. The third installation from the popular franchise, “Preachers of Atlanta” documents the lives of the city’s young elite mega-pastors as they focus on the daily struggles and triumphs as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and friends, while also maintaining their duties as men and women of God.

“Time To Quit Your Day Job” (working title)
Produced by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia Company with Phillip D. Segal, Jeff Conroy and Kevin Williams serving as executive producers.

Aspiring millennials will have the unique opportunity to pitch themselves and their innovative ideas to Randi Zuckerberg, Ido Leffler, Sarah Prevette and Lauren Maillian, who will also serve as mentors to the young professionals. These hopefuls will have to win the confidence of these four investors and prove they have what it takes to turn their concept into a viable business.

Here are descriptions of Esquire’s new shows:

COMEDIANS OF L.A. (working title)
Produced by L. Plummer Media with Lemuel Plummer as executive producer.

In this first-of-its kind partnership with Oxygen, Esquire Network points an unflinching lens at the working life of a standup comedian onstage, backstage, and offstage. The series follows rising comedians in Hollywood as they tour in concert halls worldwide and appear in blockbuster movies trying to take their careers to the next level. As they live and work in the same circles, the camaraderie and rivalries will surface as they all stand on the precipice of stardom, hustling to arrive. Oxygen’s series, “Living With Funny” (working title), focuses on their personal lives and relationships with their wives and girlfriends. The series will air during the same period on each network so fans can follow both shows seamlessly. Brandon T. Jackson is the first comedian to commit to both shows. Additional cast will be announced at a later date.

GOING DEEP WITH DAVID REES
Produced by True Entertainment with Christine Connor, Glenda Hersh, Jo Honig, David Rees and Steven Weinstock serving as executive producers.

Comedian, writer and entrepreneur David Rees reveals the not so obvious complexities of the most seemingly simple things we do in everyday life. Deemed a “phenomenal cult hero” by Variety and “drolly hilarious” by the New York Times, Rees plays scientific and anthropological host to this how-to show of epic proportions. Each episode delves into the science and the history behind everyday tasks, attempting to defamiliarize the ubiquitous so as to increase our appreciation and wonder. The perfect fit for Esquire, the network will air the original season and produce eight new episodes.

SOMM (working title)
Produced by Left/Right productions with Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman serving as executive producers.

Master Sommelier is more than just a title; it’s a badge of honor, and to earn it you need to be a wine expert in mind, body, and spirit – an achievement measured by passing one of the world’s most difficult exams. If you can pass it, you’ll be let into a club with just over 200 members worldwide and granted access to the most desirable jobs in the entire food and wine industry. “SOMM” (WT) follows six aspiring master sommeliers from New York, as they prepare for the Court of Masters Sommelier exam. The series will also deliver “takeaway” information for the Esquire man, like how to navigate a daunting wine list or how to engage a sommelier without sounding like a fool.

THE AGENT
Produced by Herzog & Co. with Josh Mamann serving as executive producer.

“The Agent” is the real-life Jerry Maguire… a documentary series following four top sports agents as they navigate the cutthroat world of professional football. The series will provide an inside look at America’s biggest sports obsession and will deliver exclusive access that will show viewers the money. Revealing how far they are willing to go to recruit the top football talent with hopes of getting them drafted, the series highlights relentless ambition, ruthless pressure and the high-stakes of the pursuit.

UNITED STATES OF BURGERS
Produced by Coolfire Studios with Jeff Keane, David Johnson and Steve Luebbert serving as executive producers.

There’s no food more quintessentially American than the burger. This summer, Esquire Network is hungrily on a mission to find the next best iconic classic. A new generation is looking to take burgers to a whole new level, and that means a bigger, better, more adventurous experience that dares the taste buds. In this six-part competition series, ingenuity is on full display as backyard BBQ kings and up-and-coming culinary hopefuls have a shot to showcase their perfected version of one of the nation’s greatest obsessions.

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