July 15, 2007 06:39 PM by Joe Blackmon
Coming off a record-breaking second quarter, Bravo announced a slate of
returning franchises and new series additions, as well as a network
first – a live finale for "Top Chef 3 Miami." The remaining
chef’testants, along with the viewers at home, will await the ultimate
decision in real-time from this season’s judges’ table – host Padma
Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, judge Gail Simmons, and "Queer
Eye’s" culinary expert Ted Allen. Additionally, Bravo announced plans
for a fourth season of "Top Chef," which will shoot in a new culinary
hotbed – Chicago – with casting currently underway. The announcements
were made today by Frances Berwick, Executive Vice President
Programming and Production, Bravo.
Bravo has a proven track record with creating addictive programming, boasting five shows with averages of more than one million total viewers for 2007 to date – "Top Chef 3 Miami" (2,069,000), "Shear Genius," (1,091,000) "Top Design" (1,152,000), "Real Housewives of Orange County," (1,189,000) and "Top Chef 2" (3,043,000). Comparatively, through the first half of 2006, only "Project Runway 2" (2,017,000) and the inaugural season of "Top Chef" (1,232,000) averaged more than one million total viewers.
Building upon the success of the network’s originals, Bravo’s new programming encompasses the signature programming groups: fashion, food, beauty, design and pop culture. "Our signature series continue to draw more viewers, with each season building upon the past for both our competition reality and docu-drama genres," said Berwick. "Our upcoming series’ command the highest level of talent and originality making viewers want to watch what happens – ultimately driving our success."
Following are the new and returning reality TV programming announcements:
TOP CHEF 3 MIAMI LIVE FINALE (Season 3)
Bravo’s culinary and ratings hit "Top Chef 3 Miami" will culminate its 14-episode run with a live finale as the remaining chef’testants’ – along with the viewers at home – learn who will win the coveted title of "Top Chef." The strongest contenders remain, having chopped, broiled and sautÃƒed their way to this telling hour. The ultimate decision in real-time is in the hands of this season’s judges’ table – Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress and host; Tom Colicchio, celebrated culinary figure and co-founder of Craft Restaurants; judge Gail Simmons of Food & Wine; and "Queer Eye’s" culinary expert Ted Allen.
TOP CHEF (Season 4)
Bravo has ordered a fourth season of its hit series "Top Chef," which will shoot in a new culinary city – Chicago. A nationwide casting call for season four begins this month in Atlanta, followed by stops in New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. For more information, interested candidates can log-on to BravoTV.com/casting.
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY (Season 3)
Bravo’s "The Real Housewives of Orange County" opens the gates to a third season. Back with all their bling are cast members Vicki Gunvalson, Jeana Keough, Tammy Knickerbocker, Lauri Waring and new housewife, Tamra Barney. Their kids in tow this season include Kara, Colton, Shane, Megan, Lindsey, Michael, Briana, Ashley and Josh, to name a few. Watch what happens in this docu-soap that follows a group of women and their families, giving viewers a glimpse at their glamorous and very real lives in a picturesque Southern California gated community in Orange County. They each have their own personal story to share, and they’ve granted Bravo an all-access pass into their lives, families, friendships, careers and homes. The women take viewers along for the ride and into their real-life dramas that show how life isn’t always perfect behind the gates.
PROJECT RUNWAY (Season 4)
Premieres in 4TH Quarter 2007
It’s "sew" time. Host Heidi Klum, designer/lead judge Michael Kors and Elle magazine editor-in-chief Nina Garcia return for another season of high fashion and drama in one of television’s most talked about shows. The Emmy-nominated series "Project Runway" provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for budding designers to break into the notoriously exclusive fashion business. Style guru Tim Gunn also returns, mentoring a new crop of aspiring designers through each challenge, showing them how to "make it work." The finalists will face-off in front of an audience of movers and shakers at New York Fashion Week.
Premieres Fall 2007
Bravo spotlights the fall of 2007 with the final season of one of TV’s most groundbreaking reality series, the Emmy Award-winning "Queer Eye," which concludes its four-year run with 10 all-new episodes. "Queer Eye: The Final Season" is all heart as the Fab Five’s Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez continue their mission to "make-better" their subjects – beginning with a not-to-be-missed special premiere episode featuring a "Straight Guy Pageant" hosted by the legendary Susan Lucci. The Fab Five bring their good humor and expertise to Bravo’s signature affinity groups, which include fashion, food, beauty, design and pop culture. In store this season is the transformation of a warring musical family, a monster truck-loving clutter bug and a divorced dad biker dude, among others. You’ll be sure to laugh, shed a tear, a few pounds and maybe some unwanted facial hair.
WELCOME TO THE PARKER
Premieres Thursday, July 26 At 10 p.m. ET/PT
Bravo pulls back the curtain on the culture of high-class hotels and takes a look at the unique personalities that work and play there. "Welcome to the Parker" takes viewers into the world of the luxurious Parker Palm Springs hotel, a five-star resort with a-list clientele. Each episode will uncover the lives, relationships and drama of the hotel staff comprised of varying personalities who have the responsibility of keeping the hotel’s demanding guests content. Viewers get a peek inside what keeps The Parker’s sterling reputation intact, following everyone from the concierge to the housekeeping department to the maitre’d and all the colorful guests found inside its walls.
Premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
It takes a special kind of personality to handle flipping six multimillion-dollar houses at one time, but Jeff Lewis, an obsessive compulsive and successful businessman, pulls it off and turns a six-figure profit on every property. Lewis may blow up every now and then and perhaps fire an employee or two, but he’s aware of his "Flipping Out" tendencies and attempts to counteract them with therapy, spiritual healers, psychics and the like. Whether it’s turning over a house or a staff member, things are always flipping in Lewis’ world. And each day comes with a new barrage of problems, from dealing with workers not showing up to the job site, to learning from his pet psychic that his cat, Monkey, needs some "alone time." With an intriguing cast of characters, living as one big dysfunctional family, there’s never a dull moment on a "Flipping Out" project.
Premieres October 2007
Hosted by "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Susie Essman, the new series "Better Half" puts a new spin on Bravo’s reality competition programs that explore creative professions. In each episode, the spouses/mates of two trained professionals – such as chefs, comedians, party planners, and hairstylists – square off in competition. The professionals have two days to coach their novice partner to take on their jobs and beat the opposing "better half" in a final challenge. Each week, three judges renowned in the featured line of work will assess how well each couple executed