CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Bravo is looking to expand on the success of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Celebrity Poker Showdown" as the network announced this week plans to roll out five new series as well as launch dates for several previously announced projects for the 2004-05 season.
Here's a breakdown of everything that's in the works at the cable channel, taken from its upfront presentation press release:
BRAVO BUILDS ON ITS RECORD-BREAKING YEAR WITH NEW SERIES, ORIGINAL SPECIALS AND EVENTS FOR 2004-2005 SEASON
NEW SERIES INCLUDE: 'QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GIRL,' 'PILOT SEASON,' 'FORTY DEUCE,' 'NAKED,' AND 'BACKSPIN'
'SIGNIFICANT OTHERS' WILL RETURN FOR SIX ADDITIONAL EPISODES
PREMIERE DATES ANNOUNCED FOR SEASON TWO OF "CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN" AND "BLOW OUT"
Bravo will build on its unprecedented success last year with a new slate of programming and specials for the 2004-2005 season, including "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl," "Pilot Season," "Forty Deuce," "Naked," "Backspin," and an all-new Elton John concert. The announcement was made today by Jeff Gaspin, President, Bravo, at Bravo's annual upfront sales presentation in New York. Also announced was a six-episode pick-up of the critical hit improv comedy "Significant Others."
"With our original series, specials, films and off-network shows, we hit the magic combination of programming last year that made Bravo the fastest-growing television network in primetime for 2003 in households, adults 18-49, and adults 25-54," said Gaspin. "We look forward to building on this success by more than doubling our original primetime programming in 2005 and continuing to deliver appointment television that will break ground with fresh faces and new voices in front of and behind the camera."
Following is a summary of 2004-2005 programming news announced today by Bravo:
NEW ORIGINAL SERIES
"Queer Eye for the Straight Girl" (thirteen one-hour episodes)
From the creators of Bravo's run away smash hit "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," comes a spin-off series that turns a tasteful eye towards the ladies. This time, a team of gay stylists will "make-better" Los Angeles-area women whose lives and looks need a little enhancement. From "drab to fab" each episode will feature a makeover sure to impress and inspire a complete lifestyle change in the subject, as well as the viewers. The series is produced by Scout Productions for Bravo. Executive producers for Scout Productions are David Collins and Michael Williams. Co-executive producer is David Metzler.
"Pilot Season" (ten one-hour episodes)
From Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace") and producing partner Todd Milliner comes "Pilot Season." For writers, producers, and television executives it's a nerve-racking time where ideas are passionately pitched, made, and the next big hits must be found. Yet outside the industry, the painstaking process that goes into making a "Friends" is relatively unknown � until now. "Pilot Season," a ten episode series, will bring viewers into the world of television production as the search for the hottest undiscovered writing talent begins. To compete, each candidate must submit a script for a pilot/presentation reel. The pool will be narrowed to five semi-finalists who will be flown to Los Angeles to pitch their ideas to established sitcom producers. From there, two will be chosen to each create pilots based on the script, and both will be followed through casting, set design, rewrites, rehearsals, taping and post-production. As an added bonus, the completed pilots will be screened during the final episode and the viewers will make the executive decision on which, if either, merits attention from a network for a series order or "re-piloting." "Pilot Season" is produced by Shapiro/Grodner Production and HazyMills Productions. Executive producers are Arnold Shapiro, Allison Grodner, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner.
"Forty Deuce" (four one-hour episodes)
For those in the know, there is a walk-on-the-wild-side burlesque club tucked away in Hollywood called Forty Duece: its name and style pay homage to the glamour days of New York's 42nd Street. The women are sexy, empowered, and their exuberance is impossible to resist. Not the performers of modern-day clubs, but trained, professional dancers from a bygone era. From Zalman King ("Nine � Weeks," "The Red Shoe Diaries") comes "Forty Deuce," a docudrama that explores the lives of these dancers -- including popular headliner Carolina -- and chronicles club owner Ivan Kane's journey to open a new club in The Hotel -- Las Vegas' next great hotel from the owners of Mandalay Bay. "Forty Deuce" is produced by Zalman King and David Saunders for The Zalman King Company.
"Naked" (eight one-hour episodes)
"Naked" presents a unique twist on the traditional TV biography and talk show formats: Whereas the celebrity guest and host screen a pre-produced documentary spotlighting that person's life and career and both may choose to stop the tape at any moment to respond, react, challenge or agree with what's happening on the screen. True to Bravo, the series will not shy away from controversy in the profile, allowing for a frank, provocative and entertaining show. Both the documentary and in-studio show are produced for Bravo by Gay Rosenthal Productions. Executive producers are Gay Rosenthal and Paul Barrosse.
"Backspin" (six one-hour episodes)
"Backspin" is a celebrity's life in rewind as told from a milestone in the star's life � such as winning a prestigious award or becoming involved in a scandal � back to childhood in search of the defining moment that set his or her destiny in motion. Afterwards, the storytelling is reversed again and events are replayed chronologically to illustrate the inevitable course of fate, followed by a quick recap of how the star's life has since changed. "Backspin" is produced by Danny Tepper for TEProductions.
NEW ORIGINAL SERIES (PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED)
"Blow Out" (six one-hour episodes)
Premieres Tuesday, June 8 (9-10 p.m. ET)
From the creator of "The Restaurant" comes "Blow Out" -- an unscripted series that takes an unprecedented look at the demands and pressures of opening and running a salon in the heart of chic Beverly Hills, where glamour and beauty are the business of the day. "Blow Out" will follow renowned hairstylist, Jonathan Antin - whose high-profile clients include Madonna, Tiger Woods and Tobey Maguire - on his quest to establish a new salon as a prominent player in an already incredibly competitive marketplace. "Blow Out" is produced by Reveille LLC, Shapiro/Grodner Productions and MAGNA Global Entertainment.
"Things I Hate About You" (thirteen one-hour episodes)
Premieres Summer 2004
"Things I Hate About You" is a reality show that takes a funny, intelligent look at the psychology of modern relationships. Each episode features one couple given the chance to prove -- once and for all � which partner is the more irritating person with whom to live. Armed with personal video cameras, couples become filmmakers as they seek to capture their partner's foibles on film. "Things I Hate About You" gets to the heart of what makes relationships tick. The series is produced by Wall to Wall Inc. ("Frontier House," "Manor House").
"Project Greenlight" (nine one-hour episodes)
Premieres in 2005
The critically acclaimed documentary series about the making of a feature film, which originated on HBO, comes to Bravo for the series' third season, driven by the same creative team, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore. Out of more than 5,000 entries, one first-time director and one first-time screenwriter will have an opportunity to manage the difficulties involved in making their own movie and a guaranteed theatrical release. In an interesting twist, the third season of "Project Greenlight" will focus specifically on the horror genre. "Project Greenlight" is executive produced for Miramax Television by Affleck, Damon, Moore and Sean Bailey of LivePlanet along with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves.
"Project Runway" (ten one-hour episodes)
Premieres Fall 2004
Miramax Television, the company behind Emmy-nominated series "Project Greenlight" is teaming up with Bravo for "Project Runway," a behind-the-scrim documentary series and competition set in the other most glamorous business in the world - the fashion industry. Cameras will roll for ten episodes as up-and-coming designers compete in weekly challenges and are given all the resources of a top designer to prepare a competitive runway show for the next New York Fall Fashion Week. Model Heidi Klum, who co-developed the series, appears as one of the celebrity judges. "Project Runway" is executive produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves ("Project Greenlight" season 2). Klum's managers and fashion world experts Desiree Gruber and Jane Cha of NYC-based Full Picture are producing.
"Long Way Round" (six one-hour episodes)
From London, England to Aldan, Siberia to Anchorage, Alaska - this six-hour series chronicles good friends Ewan McGregor ("Moulin Rouge," "Big Fish") and Charley Boorman ("On Edge") as they leave their celebrity lifestyles to circumnavigate the world on motorbikes. Departing London later this month, McGregor and Boorman will spend over three months traveling through some of the harshest terrain the world has to offer and taking on challenges and adventures indigenous to each country. To tell the story of their journey, the men will document their trip with the help of handheld cameras and production teams stationed along the way. "Long Way Round" is produced by Long Way Round Productions Ltd. Executive producers are David Alexanian, Russ Malkin, Ewan McGregor, and Charley Boorman.
"Celebrity Poker Showdown" (twelve two-hour episodes)
Premieres Tuesday, May 27 (9-11 p.m. ET)
Season two of Bravo's newest hit will return as big as it debuted with expert poker player Phil Gordon and new host Dave Foley ("NewsRadio," "The Kids in the Hall"). Some of the celebrities who will be participating this time around include: Matthew Perry, James Woods, Sean Astin, Jennie Garth, Jeff Gordon, Dave Navarro, and Angie Dickinson. As before, each episode of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" will feature five celebrities competing against each other in a game of No Limit Texas Hold'em poker for the charity of their choice. "Celebrity Poker Showdown" is produced by Picture This Television in association with Bravo.
"Inside the Actors Studio" / "Inside the Actors Studio: 10th Anniversary Special"
Sundays (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) / Special airs June 20
The signature Bravo original series hosted by James Lipton, now in its 10th season, offers the best lineup of exclusive interviews with today's most accomplished stars of film and television in the series' history. Bravo recently achieved the highest ratings in the show's history with guest Barbra Streisand. The network will celebrate the anniversary with a special featuring host James Lipton and highlights from the past 10 years. "Inside the Actors Studio" is produced by Alice Christian and John Servidio for Betelgeuse, executive produced by James Lipton for In the Moment Productions.
"Significant Others" (six half-hour episodes)
Bravo's critically acclaimed improvisational comedy "Significant Others" � which offers an hysterically honest look at marriage and the rewards, and costs, that come from being in a committed relationship, will return for another cycle. The series features a talented ensemble of improvisational actors and comedians who, quite literally, script themselves. "Significant Others" is produced by NBC Studios. Executive producers are Peter Tortorici ("Cosby," "Grace Under Fire," "Body & Soul") and director Rob R. Thomas.
"The Sarah Jones Show" (one-hour special)
Sarah Jones, the uniquely gifted, chameleon-like performance artist and star of the critically adored one-woman show "Bridge and Tunnel," takes her talents to Bravo for the network's latest comedy showcase. For this, Sarah will introduce the audience to such varied characters as Joey, the Italian-American cop struggling to stay politically correct; Rashid, a young rapper-wannabe dealing with some issues; and Ms. Lady, a homeless woman with attitude. Her sketches will range from one-person monologues performed in front of a live audience to multi-character pieces where Jones will intermingle and play off her other personas. "The Sarah Jones Show" is produced by Jumbolaya Productions. Executive producers are Nancy Stern and Mary-Jane April.
"Elton John Concert" (working title)
It's goodbye yellow brick road, hello Bravo, when award-winning musician Elton John performs in concert at Radio City Music Hall this summer for a live-to-tape special to premiere on Bravo. The legendary showman will perform his greatest hits, which span four decades, with the accompaniment of the Royal Academy of Music's Symphony Orchestra and the Julliard School of Music Orchestra.
"The 100 Scariest Movie Moments" (five one-hour specials)
Premieres Fall 2004
Not for the meek, this five-part original special counts down the most bone-chilling moments in cinematic history. Through film clips, production stills, and interviews with the filmmakers and actors who gave us these frights, such as Wes Craven ("The Nightmare on Elm Street"), Courtney Cox ("Scream"), Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King") and John Carpenter ("Halloween") � we'll explore the imagination and story behind these blood-curdling moments. "The 100 Scariest Movie Moments" is produced by Kaufman Films in association with Bravo.
"From Strip to Screen" (four one-hour specials)
From Superman to Batman, Spider-Man to X-Men, comic book superheroes are everywhere. "From Strip to Screen," a fast-paced, thought-provoking four-part special will examine the particular challenges of bringing characters of pen-and-ink to flesh-and-blood life in movies and on television. The programs will feature insights from comic book writers and artists; movie directors, screenwriters, and actors; historians of pop culture; and comics enthusiasts. "From Strip to Screen" will reveal that, far from being "kid stuff," comics and their big- and small-screen incarnations have held up a reliable mirror to an adult world that is lively, confusing, and ever-changing. "From Strip to Screen" is produced by Prometheus Entertainment in association with Bravo. Executive producers from Prometheus are Kevin Burns and Scott Harford.
"The 100 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" (five one-hour specials)
This comprehensive five-part series will focus its critical eye on famous television characters that have become a part of the fabric of American pop culture. 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 as 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, Gilligan and the Skipper to Crockett and Tubbs, they come in all sizes, sexes and combinations. This series celebrates why these beloved characters will always be welcomed into our homes. "The 100 Greatest TV Characters" is produced by LSL Productions in association with Bravo.