TV Upfront

Bravo Plans at Least 17 New TV Shows This Year

Moving Into Scripted Series Too

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Andy Cohen on a recent 'Watch What Happens Live'
Andy Cohen on a recent 'Watch What Happens Live' Credit: Bravo

NBC Universal's Bravo network warmed up for its big upfront pitch to ad buyers tomorrow night with a press breakfast on Tuesday morning at its commissary in New York's Rockefeller Center. Here's your early breakdown.

Unscripted influx: Bravo has approved 17 new unscripted series and will bring back 18 others, giving the network 35 original unscripted programs in 2013, executives said. That is a 15% increase over last year's slate of original reality series.

Potential hits: "Newlyweds: The First Year," which follows four couples from the day they get married through their first year of marriage; "Southern Charm," an inside look at the modern-day aristocrats of Charleston, S.C.; and "Extreme Guide to Parenting," which gives a candid look into unique styles of parenting.

Pushing into scripted: The network announced three new scripted projects in development: "Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce," based on the book series by Vicki Iovine that follows a best-selling self-help author who is secretly hiding her separation from her husband; "Heiresses," following wealthy families on the Upper East Side, is based on the upcoming novel from "Pretty Little Liars" author Sara Shepard; and "High and Low," a period drama set in the 1980's.

Bravo has begun production on its first scripted series to be ordered to pilot: "Rita," starring Anna Gunn from "Breaking Bad" as a teacher at a private school who also raising her own three teenagers. The network did not provide an update on scheduling for "Rita," but it has said it plans to start showing its first scripted series in the fourth quarter of this year.

Digital: Play Live, Bravo's second-screen polling platform, led to a 13% increase in live viewing for "Watch What Happens Live" over episodes without the experience, executives said. "Last Chance Kitchen," the complimentary digital spin-off of "Top Chef," generated more than 9 million views as it give eliminated chefs a shot at getting back on TV during the recent "Top Chef: Seattle."

Banking on that success, Bravo is rolling out three new digital offerings, starting with a parallel digital competition to accompany "Top Chef Masters," which will affect the outcome of the series. Bravo also introduced a live online after-show for "Watch What Happens Live" this week.

2012 Achievements: Bravo is the No. 9 TV network among 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 year-olds, with an 8% increase in total audience year-to-date, according to the network, citing Nielsen numbers. "The Real Housewives" franchise is still going strong, with the fifth season of the "Atlanta" iteration, which concluded Monday night, becoming its most-watched season. It was also a year of ad sales growth, with the network adding 126 new advertisers and 34 new online advertisers and posting a double-digit percentage growth in both national and digital ad revenue, according to the network.

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