Bravo ‘Greenlight’

Miramax shifts reality filmmaking series

Bravo and Miramax are making it two for two.

NBC-owned cabler announced it was teaming with Miramax on a second project — the third season of “Project Greenlight” — Wednesday during the second day of the Television Critics Assn. press tour.

Bravo and Miramax previously announced a partnership on “Project Runway,” a 10-part competition skein for would-be designers (Daily Variety, Nov. 4).

“Greenlight” will premiere in early 2005 with nine hourlong episodes. Docu series originally aired on HBO, with 13 half-hours last season.

“This glimpse into the creative process of filmmaking is a perfect fit for our brand, and we’re thrilled with the prospect of providing the series the kind of platform it deserves on Bravo,” Bravo prexy Jeff Gaspin said.

“We are proud to add ‘Greenlight’ to our wide-ranging relationship with Bravo as we have seen what they have done to create a groundswell for some of their other series, and we are confident they will be able to help us create similar interest in this series as well,” Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein said.

Show is produced for Miramax TV by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore and Sean Bailey of LivePlanet with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magic Elves. Bravo’s Frances Berwick and Jamila Hunter will also exec produce the new season.

Aud ambitions

Miramax co-prexy of production Bob Osher said the company shifted the show to Bravo in hopes of reaching a bigger aud — Bravo now reaches 75 million homes while the pay cabler reaches less than half of that. HBO had licensed “Greenlight” on a season-by-season basis.

“We had great times with HBO. It was just time for a change, and Bravo gives us the potential for greater TV and a larger turnout,” Osher said. “There are some twists for the upcoming season which I think will make the show even better than last season.”

Changes include restricting aspiring scribes to a genre script, but one that can range from a period drama to a horror pic or thriller. Move is unsurprising since the two movies to come out of “Greenlight,” both coming-of-age tales, didn’t become box office success stories.

Chris Moore will continue as exec producer but hand off his day-to-day producing duties to someone else to be determined, Osher said. “He’ll still be the seasoned voice for the show though,” he said.

‘Poker’ back

Bravo also announced a second season of “Celebrity Poker” to air in the summer; in February, new segs of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which will feature the Fab Five on the road making over Texas men; a 10th anniversary special for “Inside the Actors Studio”; a summer premiere for “Things I Hate About You,” a reality show based on the BBC2 series; and January’s basic cable premiere of “Keen Eddie,” including the remaining unseen episodes.

Meanwhile, Sci Fi Channel has greenlit production on “Earthsea,” a four-hour miniseries based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s book series. Cabler acquired rights to the trilogy, about a wizard’s apprentice who realizes that his fate may be far more important than he ever dreamed, in 2001 (Daily Variety, May 22, 2001).

In the tradition of “Frank Herbert’s Dune,” Steven Spielberg’s “Taken,” and “Battlestar Galactica,” cabler will launch the series as its big December event. Produced by Hallmark Entertainment in association with Bender-Brown Prods. and written by Gavin Scott (“The Mists of Avalon”), mini begins production this spring in New Zealand. Robert Halmi Sr., Lawrence Bender and Kevin Brown are exec producers.

Sci Fi addition

Sci Fi also announced it would launch a second night of original programming on Thursdays in the spring. Bowing March 4 is “Mad Mad House,” a 10-seg competition-reality hour following 10 people who attempt to stay in a house run by a group including a Wiccan, a naturist and a Voodoo priestess. New animated skein “Tripping the Rift,” featuring the voice talents of Gina Gershon, will also debut in the block, along with new episodes of Shannen Doherty-hosted “Scare Tactics.”

Other TCA announcements include the following:

  • Trio has dubbed March the channel’s “Undercovered” month, dedicated to rare and never-before-seen programs. Original doc “Shocked,” a half-hour about the story of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s humble beginnings in Internet entertainment, premieres March 7.

  • Trio will also bow the new series “Parking Lot,” which looks at the culture of fandom. Docu-style skein covers fans from a 50 Cent concert fans to Daytime Emmys attendees to self-proclaimed Justin Timberlake lookalikes. Radical Media (“The Cell”) produces.

  • The Style Network is producing one-hour reality pilot “Take Me,” where a viewer gets to live out his fantasies but will be forced to choose just one of two hopeful friends or relatives to accompany him.
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