CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- NBC announced its 2003-04 plans for its recent cable acquisition Bravo in a presentation to advertisers on Tuesday. Among the highlights were its new makeover series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," a new variety series from Cirque du Soleil and the cable premiere of the "The West Wing," all of which "exemplify the arts network�s commitment to providing innovative, edgy content" according to the press release from the network.
Here's a rundown of the projects that were announced:
BASIC CABLE PREMIERE
THE WEST WING (August 2003) -- In its landmark first season, The West Wing garnered 13 Emmy awards (including Best Drama) and became the most honored single season series in television history. Now Bravo brings you every episode of this remarkable debut season. The West Wing depicts the dedicated men and women who work at The White House, serving their country through times and crises that mirror our own, and providing a fascinating inner glimpse of life inside the world�s most powerful office. Each episode brims with the brilliant writing of creator Aaron Sorkin, the acclaimed performances of the ensemble cast and a brisk dramatic pace that galvanizes the viewer. The series stars Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Rob Lowe, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, Dule Hill, Janel Moloney (�Sports Night�) and Stockard Channing.
NEW ORIGINAL SERIES
QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY (12 one-hour episodes, July 2003) -- They call themselves the Fab Five. They are: An interior designer, a fashion stylist, a chef, a beauty guru and someone we like to call the �concierge of cool� - who is responsible for all things hip, including music and pop culture. All five are talented, they�re gay and they�re determined to clue in the cluttered, clumsy straight men of the world. With help from family and friends, the Fab Five treat each new guy as a head-to-toe project. Soon, the straight man is educated on everything from hair products to Prada and Feng Shui to foreign films. At the end of every fashion-packed, fun-filled lifestyle makeover, a freshly scrubbed, newly enlightened guy emerges - complete with that �new man� smell!
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL VARIETY SHOW (13 one-hour episodes, Q2 2004) -- Cirque du Soleil is the focal point of this new 13-part series, as one-of-a-kind an experience as Cirque itself. Each episode weaves a wondrous array of never-before-televised Cirque performances into a unique style of storytelling, leading viewers through a mesmerizing dream world of fantasy and reality. Among the thrills are highlights from the Cirque productions, Mystere, La Nouba and O, plus dazzling new acts, performers and special effects. The series also spotlights the unusual talents of Yamakasi, a real-life troupe of young French daredevils. The family-oriented series continues Bravo�s exclusive presentation of Cirque events.
MORE THAN MUSIC (8 half-hour episodes, 3Q 2004) -- From Heartbreak Hotel to Like A Virgin to Smells Like Teen Spirit, songs have helped shape and define the decades. This 8-part, half-hour series will travel, song-by-song, through time. Through interviews with everyone from recording artists to political leaders, fashion designers to teachers and pop psychologists to music fans, More Than Music will explore how music affects all aspects of our lives - and how key songs can perfectly embody key moments in our history.
RETURNING ORIGINAL SERIES
INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO (20 new episodes) -- The signature Bravo Original Series returns for a new, tenth season of exclusive interviews with today�s most accomplished stars of film and television. Presented from New York before a live audience, each show features a major artist of impact discussing their work and sharing the secrets of their celebrated achievements. Host James Lipton leads the in-depth showcase with intelligence and insight, taking us through the life and career of each guest while extracting fascinating and entertaining revelations along the way. Audience members also get the chance to ask questions, augmenting the unique interaction and intimacy that can only be found Inside the Actors Studio. Among the new guests for third quarter 2003 and beyond are the cast of �Will & Grace,� Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally with Director/Executive Producer James Burrows and the participation of Creators/Executive Producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, John Goodman, Drew Barrymore, Joanne Woodward and Jeremy Irons.
ORIGINAL MOVIES, LIMITED SERIES AND SPECIALS
CIRQUE WEEK - VAREKAI PREMIERE (June 2003) -- Bravo presents a fantastic festival of the world�s most spectacular events. The lineup includes: Cirque du Soleil: Quidam, a unique, acrobatic show; the Emmy-winning Cirque du Soleil: Dralion, fusing ancient Chinese circus tradition and the avant-garde; Cirque du Soleil: Alegria, depicting society through the centuries; and Cirque du Soleil: Saltimbanco, celebrating the troupe�s very best acts. Also featured: The 20th anniversary of the Circus of Tomorrow and back-to-back episodes of the hit behind-the-scenes series, Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within. The week culminates in the highly-anticipated premiere of the newest Cirque extravaganza, Varekai.
THE REALITY OF REALITY (five one-hour episodes, Q3 2003) -- �The Reality of Reality� is a 5-part series examining the phenomenon of reality television. The series will cover the fact and fiction of reality shows, how they are made, the history of the genre and the 15 minutes of fame awaiting those who appear on shows such as �Survivor,� �The Bachelor,� �The Bachelorette,� �Joe Millionaire� and others.
MAN, MONSTER & MACHINE (three one-hour episodes, Q4 2003) -- From the ingenious illusions of the first moving pictures to today�s most high-tech special effects, movies have the uniquely powerful ability to bring our wildest dreams and nightmares to life. This spine-chilling, three-part series presents the most memorable and most feared big screen creations, with intriguing behind-the-scenes footage including incisive interviews with the filmmakers themselves. Viewers will thrill to clips from Aliens, Terminator 2, Batman Returns, The Fly, Edward Scissorhands, The Matrix, A.I., The Shining, Vanilla Sky, The Others, The Birds, Starship Troopers, The Mummy, Psycho, Being John Malkovich, Blade Runner, Simone, Johnny Mneumonic and many more, as well as gain new insight into the making of the magic. Above all, Man, Monster and Machine is a celebration of the exuberant creativity of cinema.
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (2 hours, October 2003) -- Prepare for an astonishing new production of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson thriller. John Hannah (The Mummy, Four Weddings and a Funeral) stars as a scientist in Victorian England who develops a drug that releases the darker side of human nature. Forced to experiment on himself, he becomes addicted, with violent and tragic consequences. The performances are electrifying, the special effects are stunning � as the timeless story of one man�s struggle between good and evil is transformed into a remarkably haunting and unforgettable movie experience.
REGGAE: THE STORY OF JAMAICAN MUSIC (2 hours, Q2 2004) -- It began as ska in the streets of Jamaica, a joyful, new sound celebrating the birth of a new, independent nation. As it evolved into the style known as reggae, the music and its influence now is heard throughout the globe. Via archival footage, interviews and performances, this comprehensive 2-hour special journeys from reggae�s roots to its phenomenal popularity across Europe and America to its fusion with modern hip hop. Featured performers and stars include Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, Johnny Rotten, Eric Clapton, The Police, UB40, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Busta Rhymes and many more.
STAGE MOMS (five one-hour episodes, Q2 2004) -- This intriguing 5-part series shines the spotlight on real-life stage moms and their would-be child stars as they make their way along the unpredictable road to fame. The unblinking camera reveals the stage moms� hopes, dreams and fears for their kids. We see each woman�s own passions and desires, as well as their reasons for leading their children into the limelight. And we learn each child�s motivation and aspiration: dancer, film actor, stage actor, beauty pageant contender and country singer. The experience is alternately heartwarming and involving, shocking and enlightening. Whether it�s an aggressive stage mom pushing her child forward, or it�s a reluctant, uncertain mother whose child is the driving force, we see everyone�s true ambitions at play�with surprising revelations.
THE TV REVOLUTION (five one-hour episodes, Q2 2004) -- It�s the most powerful medium of American culture, reflecting and fueling social change. This 5-part series explores television�s impact, including in-depth looks at the expanding portrayal of lifestyles and relationships, the depiction of crime and other action images through the years, as well as the evolution of roles for minorities and women. Highlights from TV�s greatest shows will include: Will & Grace, Ellen, Dynasty, All in the Family, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, I Spy, Good Times, Charlie�s Angels and Sex and the City. This dramatic history will have much to reveal as to who we are, and how we got that way.
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS! (Q2 2004) -- Seigfried & Roy. Cirque du Soleil�s O. Tropicana�s Follies Begere. They are the names that are synonymous with the neon desert oasis known as Sin City. Las Vegas Live! peels back the velvet curtain and digs deep into what makes these megashows and the city itself tick. Featuring live performances from famous headliners including the �King of Las Vegas� Wayne Newton, archival footage and interviews with the key players and pros, this two-hour special presents the Las Vegas you haven�t seen before. From its gangster past to its family-friendly present, it�s real, it�s raw and it�s live!
THE VOICE (two one-hour episodes, Q3 2004) -- From Sinatra to Seal, The Beach Boys to Bono, Ella Fitzgerald to Aretha Franklin, Bravo takes an in-depth look at popular songs and memorable voices. Three one-hour episodes take viewers on a musical journey through the greatest vocal talents the world has ever heard. Through a blend of classic archive and rare footage, unique intimate performances and exclusive interviews with a legion of legends, the history of popular music will unfold. Like notes on an original sheet of music, the combined result will be a unique and memorable creation.
THE SEXIEST MOMENTS IN FILM AND TELEVISION (five one-hour episodes, Q3 2004) -- From Lauren Bacall teaching Humphrey Bogart to whistle to Sharon Stone teaching Michael Douglas a thing or two about interrogation, the Thorn Birds scandalous affair to Sex and the City�s wardrobe, this enticing special covers the evolution of �sexy� in both film and television. In the age of push-the-envelope reality television and NC-17 film ratings, it�s interesting to note that a simple kiss or sideways glance can still do the trick! Original interviews with sexy scene stealers and memorable clips will complement the historical perspective on sexy �then� versus sexy �now.�
THE GREATEST TV CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME (five one-hour episodes, Q3 2004) -- This comprehensive 5-part series spans the earliest days of television to today. Blending classic moments, rare photos and interviews with both the stars and show creators, the series will spotlight how our favorite TV characters broke out of the pack to emerge pop icons. Some of today�s hottest TV stars will share their all-time favorites and influences as well. From Lucy Ricardo to Marge Simpson, Ed Norton to Cosmo Kramer, Joe Friday to Andy Sipowicz, Gilligan & the Skipper to Crockett & Tubbs, they come in all sizes, sexes and combinations � this series celebrates why they�ll always be welcomed into our homes.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR (December 2003) -- Who thrilled us on the big screen? Who kept us glued to our TV set? Who captivated us in song and sound? This special two-hour event spans the worlds of movies, television and music to showcase the top performers of the year. The greatest entertainment moments of 2003 will be spotlighted, along with exclusive interviews with the stars and fascinating insights from some of the nation�s leading pop culture critics. Adding to the fun and excitement, Entertainer of the Year will countdown the leading stars and artists in each of their fields � those who proved most popular, and those with the most lasting impact. This is one special celebration sure to be most entertaining!
THE 61ST ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS (January 2004) -- Presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and featuring the most popular stars from both film and television, the Golden Globe Awards are always a viewer favorite. Being the first awards show of the season helps the Globes attract the world�s biggest stars and inspire some of the industry�s most memorable antics. From winners dashing to the stage from the bathroom, or standing speechless at the podium, to a party-like atmosphere, the Golden Globe Awards have so many Must See moments that this special rebroadcast is perfect! Now, days after the event�s original airing, viewers can see what had everyone talking - from the outrageous outfits to the hilarious spontaneity.
THE 18TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS (February 2004) -- This annual celebration, broadcast from sun-drenched Santa Monica, California, has it all. The Spirit Awards feature the biggest stars in some of their most challenging roles. The broadcast combines the glamour of a Hollywood premiere and the casual spirit of an indie film set. For viewers, the evening offers the excitement of a traditional awards show combined with the edginess and humor of a non-traditional, �in� crowd. Honoring those films, performers and directors that do big films with little budgets, the ISAs are always a memorable event.
LIVE FROM CANNES (May 2004) -- Bravo has your exclusive ticket to the most extravagant festival of the season. With three days of extensive coverage, Bravo takes Cannes by storm! The city of Cannes is known for its world-class beaches and luxury hotels. The festival at Cannes is known as much for its world-class parties as it is for its premiere films. From opening to closing ceremonies, Bravo has exclusive interviews and event coverage, all leading up to the awarding of the coveted Palme d�Or. The celebration on Bravo will also include a Cannes Film Festival special featuring three films that have previously taken top Cannes honors!
THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME (2 hours, July 2004) -- The Songwriters Hall of Fame�s annual induction ceremony celebrates the greatest songwriters and songs of all time. Legendary music producer Phil Ramone will once again produce the awards show with honorees and performers to be announced. Recent honorees include Sting, Garth Brooks, Carole King, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, and Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson.
2004 SUMMER OLYMPICS (August 2004) -- For the first time ever, the most watched event in television is coming to Bravo. In the summer of 2004, as nations come together to celebrate the world�s finest athletes, the Olympic Games will be held in Athens, Greece (the birthplace of the first Games in 776 BC). Bravo will carry a total of 188 hours of Olympic events over 14 days, beginning Saturday, August 14, 2004, airing in the following dayparts: 9am-noon; 4pm - 8pm; midnight - 6am (MSNBC replay). Now in over 70 million households, Bravo is proud to be a part of the exclusive Complete Olympics coverage on the NBC networks.