CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association began its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters.
Here's a breakdown of the highlights of Bravo's presentation (via press release):
BRAVO ANTES UP FOR SECOND SEASON OF 'CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN'
TWO-HOUR FIRST SEASON FINALE WILL AIR AT A SPECIAL TIME ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 13
With the success of the first season of the "Celebrity Poker Showdown," Bravo will begin production on a second season this winter, it was announced by Jeff Gaspin, President of Bravo. The new season will be filmed in Los Angeles and will air later this spring.
When "Celebrity Poker Showdown" first premiered on December 2, 2003, it achieved Bravo's second highest series premiere rating ever with a 1.59 household rating � just 0.02 behind the premiere of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
On Tuesday, January 13 (8-10 p.m. ET), the inaugural season will conclude with a special two-hour episode beginning one hour earlier than its normal time period.
The winners of the first 5 games, Paul Rudd ("Friends"), Richard Schiff ("The West Wing"), Nicole Sullivan ("The King of Queens"), Willie Garson ("Sex and the City") and David Cross ("Arrested Development"), will face off to see who will be crowned the first ever "Celebrity Poker Showdown" champion, and win $100,000 for the charity of their choice. Just for making it to the finals, fifth place will win $7,500, fourth place will win $10,000, third place will win $12,500 and second place will walk away with $20,000 for their charity.
"Celebrity Poker Showdown" is produced by Picture This Television in association with Bravo. Marcia Mul� and Bryan Scott, Andrew Hill Newman and Joshua Malina are the executive producers. Frances Berwick, Amy Introcaso-Davis and Shari Levine are the executive producers for Bravo.
MIRAMAX TELEVISION, BRAVO AND LIVEPLANET SET TO MOVE FORWARD ON 'PROJECT GREENLIGHT'
BRAVO TO AIR NINE NEW EPISODES OF THE EMMY NOMINATED SERIES THAT WILL SEE LIVEPLANET AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS MATT DAMON, BEN AFFLECK AND CHRIS MOORE RETURNING FOR A THIRD SEASON WITH A REFINED FOCUS
Miramax Television has joined forces with Bravo for a new season of "Project Greenlight," the Emmy nominated filmmaking contest, feature film and warts-and-all behind-the-scenes filmmaking documentary TV series that chronicles the challenges of first-time-writers and directors given the opportunity of a lifetime. For the show's third season, partners LivePlanet and Miramax are hopeful they will be able to create a series and a film that will revolve around a genre script such as horror or thriller (The past two season's films were based on coming of age stories). The agreement with Bravo, which calls for nine, one-hour episodes to air on the network, was announced today by Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein and Bravo President Jeff Gaspin.
"'Project Greenlight' has tapped into this country's appetite for wanting to know how a film gets made, with all of the ups and downs that are a regular part of the process and thus we want to continue to bring this compelling series to audiences," said Harvey Weinstein. "Once it was decided to move the show to a network with a broader household reach, Bravo became a clear choice. 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. The potential of a horror or thriller film is a great way to infuse a new angle into the show, just as we did last year by separating the screenwriter from the directors."
"We're thrilled to be partnered with Miramax and producers Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore on the next installment of `Project Greenlight,'" said Gaspin. "We have long admired Miramax's contribution to film and television, and this show represents our companies desire to offer viewers risk-taking and exciting programming. This glimpse into the creative process of filmmaking is a perfect fit for our brand and we're thrilled with the prospect of providing 'Project Greenlight' the kind of elevated platform it deserves on Bravo, as well as adding a new twist by focusing on a genre film."
"Project Greenlight" contest rules and dates will be announced shortly. Plans call for the contest winners to be selected by mid 2004 and the film is anticipated to begin production in late summer/early fall of the same year. The series is slated to begin airing on Bravo in early 2005. For more information interested contestants can log on to www.projectgreenlight.com or www.bravotv.com.
Last season's "Project Greenlight" confirmed the public's appetite to be behind the scenes on a film production by demonstrating an increase in its viewing audience by twenty percent from the show's initial season in 2002. Additionally, the series' producers have been recognized by the Producers Guild of America as nominees for the organization's 2004 Producer of the Year Award in the category of best Reality, Game and Information series.
"Project Greenlight" is executive produced for Miramax Television by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore and Sean Bailey of LivePlanet along with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves. William Morris is packaging the series. The agreement for Bravo and "Project Greenlight" was negotiated on behalf of Miramax by Bob Osher, co-president of production, and Alan Duke, executive vice president of business affairs, TV & home video, and for Bravo by Mitch Salem. The series will be overseen for Miramax by Eli Holzman, vice president of television. Executive producers for Bravo are Frances Berwick and Jamila Hunter.
CUTTING-EDGE IMPROVISATIONAL COMEDY SERIES `SIGNIFICANT OTHERS' TO PREMIERE ON BRAVO ON TUESDAY, MARCH 9
Bravo will premiere its new original series "Significant Others" � an unconventional twist on the traditional sitcom - on Tuesday, March 9 (9-9:30 p.m. ET). Following the premiere, a second original episode will air from 9:30-10 p.m. ET.
"Significant Others" is an improvised comedy about couples in and out of marriage counseling, taking a hysterically honest look at marriage and the rewards - and costs - that come with being in a committed relationship. More real than traditional comedies and more imaginative than reality shows, this six-episode series features a talented ensemble of actors and comedians who, quite literally, script themselves.
"'Significant Others' is the kind of comedy you'd expect to find on Bravo where edginess and creativity thrive," said Jeff Gaspin, President, Bravo. "We feel this series is funny, relatable and it is groundbreaking television that exemplifies the artistic freedom granted by this medium."
Brian Palermo ("Daddy Day Care") is all-business James � a financial analyst who has it all except the confidence to believe it: Something his more spirited and free-loving wife Chelsea, played by Andrea Savage ("The West Wing") finds endearing�sometimes. Faith Salie ("Sex and the City") is the scholarly Eleanor, whose pregnancy - plus the pressure of impending fatherhood - prove too much too soon for husband Ethan (Herschel Bleefeld, "Six Feet Under"). Jane Edith Wilson ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") plays the organized and seemingly predictable Constance, who finds her world unraveling when her husband Bill (Fred Goss, "South Park") loses his job in full midlife freefall. Chris Spencer ("Vibe") and Nicole Randall Johnson ("Miss Match") are Devon and Alex � two parents doing their best to balance the demands of work and their 9-year-old son; they are fairly sure that they don't have "issues" but are checking in just in case.
"Significant Others" is produced by NBC Studios. Executive producers are Peter Tortorici ("Cosby," "Grace Under Fire," "Body & Soul") and director Rob R. Thomas.
'BLOW OUT' � FROM THE CREATOR OF `THE RESTAURANT' � PRIMPS FOR DEBUT ON BRAVO IN 2004
SIX-EPISODE SERIES EXAMINES THE DEMANDS OF OPENING AND RUNNING A SALON IN THE HEART OF BEVERLY HILLS
From the creators of the summer hit "The Restaurant" comes "Blow Out," an unscripted series that follows renowned hairstylist, Jonathan Antin � who has worked with such high-profile names as Madonna, Jewel, Kirsten Dunst, Alicia Silverstone, Tiger Woods and Tobey Maguire - on his quest to establish a new salon in chic Beverly Hills and become prominent player in an already incredibly competitive marketplace. The six-episode series will premiere this summer on Bravo.
"'Blow Out' is an innovative series that takes a look at the real human drama of a beauty salon from the eyes of a Hollywood stylist, Jonathon Antin," said Gaspin. "Jonathon is charismatic and widely popular among celebrities as well as style-conscious individuals, which makes him a great character for television. Producer Ben Silverman has a knack for creating dramatic television, as we have seen with his series 'The Restaurant.' The creative sensibility he and Jonathon will bring to `Blow Out' makes it a natural fit for Bravo."
"Bravo is the perfect platform for this project and Reveille is thrilled to again be working with Magna Global in putting together a new exciting unscripted drama. Jonathan Antin a truly dynamic character, and his incredible staff will look to establish a new business catering to the highest end beauty clientele in the world," said Silverman. "Jonathan is ready to take the next steps in his remarkable career and watching him will be amazing television."
Robert Riesenberg, Executive Vice President/Director, MAGNA Global Entertainment echoed Silverman's enthusiasm about their companies' continued working relationship. "We couldn't be happier to once again be working with Reveille and to continue providing our sponsors with such unique and valuable marketing platforms for their brands."
As a teenager Antin was inspired by Warren Beatty's Academy Award winning role in the hit movie "Shampoo." It was at this point Antin had found his true calling in life. He soon dropped out of Beverly Hills High to enroll in the Fairfax Beauty Academy, where he quickly landed a job at a trendy Melrose salon. Like Beatty's character, Antin's smoldering good looks and charisma, combined with his unique fashion sense proved irresistible. Within a few short years he claimed the Melrose salon as his own, garnering a list of celebrity clientele rivaling the best in the business.
"Blow Out" will follow Jonathan Antin as he embarks on his lifelong dream of unveiling the Jonathan Salon: Beverly Hills. Viewers will be captivated by the thrills and disappointments that this ambitious stylist will endure to make his vision a reality. Financed with his savings, the move to Tinsel Town's toniest neighborhood could make or break the driven stylist. With the help of his friend Ron Radziner from the renowned Marmol & Radziner architecture firm, Antin hopes to create an oasis where the elite can luxuriate under his genius touch.
For the series, producers Reveille and MAGNA Global Entertainment have once again partnered to create gripping television financed by exclusive advertising sponsorship packages modeled after those created and used in "The Restaurant." Currently, Reveille and Magna Global Entertainment are selling those packages and have a number of leading advertisers interested and coming on board.
"Blow Out" is produced by Reveille LLC and MAGNA Global Entertainment with Ben Silverman of Reveille LLC ("The Restaurant," "Nashville Star") and producing along side Mark Koops ("The Restaurant," "House Wars") and H.T. Owens ("The Restaurant," "Nashville Star") as co-executive producers. In addition, Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner ("Big Brother 2," "Big Brother 3") will serve as executive producers. Rob Lee will also serve as a co-executive producer.