TV Upfront

Bravo Looks Beyond 'Housewives' to First Original Scripted Series

While New Reality Fare Will Follow Therapists, Randi Zuckerberg, I Can Has Cheezburger?

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Bravo, best known for its "Real Housewives" franchise and a collection of other reality fare, is planning its first original scripted series, the network said Wednesday ahead of its annual presentation to advertisers.

The announcement came shortly after the cable channel hired Andrew Wang to fill the newly created role of VP-scripted development and production.

Alexis from 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' after nose surgery
Alexis from 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' after nose surgery Credit: AMC

Bravo is looking at several scripts, the network said, including one with the working title "Blowing Sunshine," set in a fictional private rehab center, and another with the working title "22 Birthdays," focusing on the sordid and scandalous activities of parents with kids at an exclusive private school, with each episode centered around a lavish birthday party.

The network plans to shoot several pilots this year and intends to put at least one original scripted series on the air in 2013, Eli Lehrer, VP-development and original programming, told Ad Age .

Bravo is the latest cable network to announce its entry into original scripted programming: Hallmark Channel, BBC America and History will release their first series this year.

Bravo said it would increase programming 27% in 2012, with 11 new and eight returning unscripted series.

New series include "Silicon Valley," about the intertwining lives of young professionals trying to become Silicon Valley's next great success stories -- including Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg's sister; "Life After Top Chef," which revisits former "Top Chef" contestants and what's happened to them since they were on the series; "Huh?" (working title) which follows Ben Huh and his eclectic staff at icanhascheezburger.com; "The Kandi Factory," starring Kandi Burress from "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"; and "LA Shrinks" (working title), a peek at the personal and professional lives of Los Angeles therapists.

Returning series include "Flipping Out," "Tabatha Takes Over" and "Million-Dollar Decorators."

The network also announced a "Real Housewives"-themed Facebook game planned to coincide with the fifth season of "The Real Housewives of New York City" this summer.

Bravo said it added 155 advertisers and 25 online advertisers last year, posting double-digit growth in both national and digital ad revenue.

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