'Restaurant' Producer Tees Up Brands For New Show

Amex, Revlon, LensCrafters on board for 'Blow Out'

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% After the success of last summer's limited-run reality series "The Restaurant"—which was supported by three brand marketers in a barter arrangement with NBC—Universal Television-backed producer Ben Silverman has sold a similar model for an unscripted drama about a Beverly Hills hairstylist to the Peacock's sister network Bravo.

According to execs close to the situation, Silverman, again working with Magna Global Entertainment—with which he collaborated on "The Restaurant"—is closing in on securing sponsorship packages for the new show, to be called "Blow Out." The packages will likely feature brand integration, with three brands including American Express, Revlon and the LensCrafters unit of Luxottica Group. The six-episode series is expected to air this summer.

AmEx was one of the brand partners in "The Restaurant" as its Open card for small business owners was featured in the show about a New York chef Rocco DiSpirito launching a Gotham eatery at breakneck speed. "Blow Out" has a similar storyline as hairdresser-to-the-stars Jonathan Antin opens a salon. AmEx, Revlon and LensCrafters execs could not be reached for comment. NBC and Universal Television representatives declined to comment.

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% Since "The Restaurant" was a moderate ratings success for NBC last summer and is returning for a second season this spring, an exec close to the situation said the financial model would be similar for "Blow Out."

The producers will waive the network license fee in exchange for control of half of the ad inventory on the show, assuming much of the financial risk that a network normally takes. The producers were able to persuade the network and the often-recalcitrant ad sales unit to go along with the model.

The producers, brands, and network all are hoping that "Blow Out" will catch the same lightning in a bottle that "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" did. Jeff Gaspin, president of Bravo and alternative-programming chief at NBC, has the ability to repurpose "Blow Out" on NBC as well.

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