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Fox sees true ratings beauty in ‘The Swan’

Net orders 11 more segs, expects skein to be ready in fall

Ugly ducklings, rejoice: Fox has plucked a second season of its makeover show/beauty contest “The Swan.”

Net has ordered 11 more episodes of the show, which wraps its first season May 24. “The Swan” has posted solid numbers for the web, averaging a 4.2 rating and 10 share among adults 18-49 after four airings. Skein pulls an average of 9.1 million viewers.

“It’s doing really good numbers from virtually no lead-in at all,” Fox alternative/specials exec VP Mike Darnell said of the show’s Monday 9 p.m. timeslot. “And we can feel the show growing.”

Darnell said the pickup — after just four episodes — was the fastest he had ever ordered a second season. “There was no reason to wait,” he said. “The faster the better.”

Fox and producers FremantleMedia North America, Galan Entertainment and A. Smith & Co. are casting for the second cycle. In addition to already receiving thousands of submissions via mail, the show will conduct live auditions later this summer.

According to Darnell, the second cycle of “The Swan” should be ready to air by fall.

“The Swan” takes average-looking women and radically transforms them via plastic surgeons, dentistry, exercise, therapy, diet and “life coaching.” The women aren’t allowed to look in a mirror during their three-month transformation; after the reveal, one participant each week is chosen to participate in a “Swan” beauty pageant.

The makeover and beauty pageant elements have drawn criticism from some circles, but Darnell and the producers dismissed the concerns.

“The controversy comes from people who haven’t seen it,” said exec producer Nely Galan. “Once people see it, they really like it.”

Beyond the 11 episode order, Galan and fellow exec producer Arthur Smith said they hope to piece together a “Where Are They Now” special revisiting some of the show’s makeover recipients.

Darnell and the producers said they may consider expanding the franchise down the road, such as a celebrity edition of “The Swan.” But for now, there are no plans to produce a male version or any other variation.

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