‘Bravo-lebrities’ unveiled at net’s upfront

Execs talk future, expansion at presentation

Wednesday evening’s Bravo upfront looked more like a movie premiere than an ad buyer presentation. Lauren Zalaznick’s high-rent NBCU cabler literally rolled out the red carpet for guests including Zalaznick herself, NBCU prexy Jeff Zucker and Sarah Jessica Parker – celebs posed for paps posted outside on Hudson street in trendy SoHo.

Little programming news was released on Wednesday evening. The party came at the end of a week of announcements for the net, including Wednesday’s revelation that the net would add a fifth night of programming and last Friday’s pickups of glamour photog show “Double Exposure” and a third season of “Shear Genius.”

Upfront eschewed traditional PowerPoint-style presentation in favor of a multiple showrooms, each of which was dedicated to one of the net’s shows. Ad buyers could get their hair done at the “Shear Genius” booth, sit for an interview with “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen (DVDs of these and photos were offered in lieu of gift bags), or help themselves to the vast array of “Top Chef” canapes.

In fact, Zalaznick, whose remarks lasted less than 10 minutes, appeared to believe that the best way to flaunt Bravo’s earnings and cachet before its traditionally wealthy buyers was to let them participate in the shows themselves – a choice that worked better for the lifestyle net than it might for, say, Animal Planet.

“As television websites expanded and frankly stopped being good enough, we started to build a better mousetrap,” Zalaznick told Variety. “The whole ‘360’ model was just to push people to the website, then back to the TV, then back to the website.”

Instead, Zalaznick said that Bravo’s goal is to tubthump its own brands alongside its advertisers’ in an effort to sell viewers a whole lifestyle rather than a suite of tech-centric gadgets and apps.

“Bravo-lebrities” including several Housewives from sundry locales mixed with the crowd, as did thesp and producer Parker, whose upcoming co-pro with Magical Elves, “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist,” is tentatively set to preem on the net this summer.

Shows in production include two scripted series – “I’m Not Myself These Days,” an hourlong scripted musical show, and “Room Service,” a dramedy set among high-end escorts at a posh hotel. 2010 pickups included a skein from last year’s development slate: “Miami Social Club,” a reality show about high society in Miami.

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