"We were five episodes in," SoapNet General Manager Deborah Blackwell said of the 10-episode series, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. "I mean it has just been a riot. I don't think we could've imagined a more dramatic, soapy development than this."
New publishing partner
After blog rumors initially had assistants Andrew and Rachel moving to Conde shopping mag Lucky, Ms. Blackwell ultimately turned to Hearst's CosmoGirl as the new publishing partner for her network's first docu-soap.
"We're very interested in the young demographic, and CosmoGirl has got a readership of 8 million, so it's quite successful," Ms. Blackwell said. "Their key demo is 13 to 24, with a median age of 16. [For SoapNet], 72% of females start watching soaps by age 18. It just feels like a natural for us."
The show marks CosmoGirl's first foray onto the TV screen, though it has hosted webisodes such as "Design Search" and "Project Prom" on Cosmogirl.com in recent years.
No stranger to soaps
But Editor in Chief Susan Schulz is no stranger to soaps. Since her magazine's teenage readers are big soap fans, Ms. Schulz said she gets pitched constantly for coverage of the shows in her magazine. Ongoing talks with the folks at "General Hospital" even led to a guest appearance on the show as nurse Susan Schulz Wuornos, a welcome departure from her day job as a magazine editor. "I was a bit disappointed I couldn't be a doctor," Ms. Schulz said. "I don't have any doctors in my family, so I wanted to be one for my mom."
Since the ink is still drying on the SoapNet partnership -- Andrew and Rachel just started work on Monday -- Ms. Schulz said we won't see any "Fashionista Diaries" coverage in the magazine until the October issue, just in time for the mid-September airings of the CosmoGirl episodes of the show. Cosmogirl.com will feature additional footage from the show, with Andrew and Rachel's reports from the fashion-closet trenches.
So will Ms. Schulz be the next devil wearing Prada? "I wish!" she said with a laugh. "I'll have to create some persona -- I'm not really worried. I sometimes wonder what facial expressions they'll edit in, but it's all fun. I think people have seen enough reality TV to know -- and heard of other reality stars that have had problems to know how to avoid the pitfalls."