“We’re in a hyperbolic type space, which is fitting despite the market conditions,” said Lauren Zalaznick.
It was Tuesday morning and Ms. Zalaznick, the overseer of various NBC Universal cable lifestyle channels, was standing in an ornate banquet hall at the Russian Tea Room, kicking off Bravo’s annual upfront presentation to reporters.
Over the next hour and a half, a conga line of Bravo executives talked up the channel’s strong performance in a weak market (first-quarter ad revenue up 21 precent versus last year!) and introduced a slate of hyperbolic new programs in various stages of development.
Along the way, they introduced NYC Prep, a real-life Gossip Girl–type show, which will follow the lives of six high-rolling Manhattan preppies as they prance about town, hemorrhaging allowances and hair products. In a preview clip, one of the subjects and his well-coiffed wingman go on a double date. Preppy mating rituals ensue.
Elsewhere in network’s plans for the future, competitions remained en vogue.
In The Fashion Show, designers will compete for the approval of fashion luminaries and a cash prize. In American Artist, creative types will square off in a range of disciplines for validation and a chance at a museum tour. In Launch My Line, “pop culture notables” will team up with designers for the chance to launch their own fashion line
Jumping on the big family bandwagon that is all the rage on TV these days (Jon and Kate Plus 8, Octomom, the Duggar clan, etc.), Bravo executives announced that they have two fertility-reality series in the works.
Laura Bennett will follow the Project Runway contestant and fashion designer and mother of six kids as she juggles life between professional success and domestic chaos. Design Sixx will revolve around the Manhattan design couple Cortney and Robert Novogratz and their six (going on seven) children
The network will also soon be kicking off Watch What Happens, a pop-culture roundup show—and vehicle for Bravo exec Andy Cohen‘s apparent ambition to spend more time in front of the cameras.
Also in the development works: gym makeovers, a celebrity florist, supermodels, Kelly Cutrone, super narcissists in Miami, and—for the first time in the network’s history—fiction!
Bravo exec Frances Berwick announced that the network has two scripted shows in the early stage of development: Blueprint, a “serialized dramedy” about two best friends, one gay and one straight, who run an architecture-design firm in New York; and 30 Under 30 a series about a bratty pack of young turks who make a magazine’s annual list of 20-something go-getters and afterwards struggle to live up to the billing.
For the grand finale, Bravo trotted out the stars of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who gamely sat around talking to Mr. Cohen about their lives and rivalries and cankles.
What separates the housewives of New Jersey, Mr. Cohen asked, from the housewives of, say, Orange County?
“We’re a force to be reckoned with,” said one of the botoxed beauties.
And also, according to Mr. Cohen, they spend an inordinate amount of time sitting around talking about their, um, hyperbolic “boobies.”