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WE Gets ‘Upbeat, Sassy’

4/05/2010 2:09 AM Eastern

New York — Coming off its best
year with its target demo, WE TV
is looking to add a little sass to
its voice as it expands its original
programming lineup.

The Rainbow Media women’stargeted
service is now sporting
the tagline “Simply Fascination,”
as it aims to be “upbeat and sassy,”
said John Miller, senior vice president
of original programming,
during an upfront presentation
here last Wednesday.

While WE TV aspires to resonate
and empower its viewers
through their different life stages
by being “louder,” it will not give
off “an in-your-face attitude like
Oxygen,” Miller said.

The network — which registered
its best delivery (101,000)
ever among women 25 to 54 in
2009 and continued that momentum
with an improved first-quarter
performance in that target
demo — has six new original series
in the works. It is also reinvigorating
some of its extant series,
notably its best Nielsen-producer,
Bridezillas, whose seventh season
is slated for June.

Miller, who joined WE from The
Weinstein Co. last October, said
Bridezillas will still delve into the
craziness of the upcoming nuptials,
but will portray the brides
in a light that will show why their
betrothed want to marry them.

“We’ve fleshed out the characters,”
Miller said. “It’s still wonderfully
conflict-laden, but not
conflict-laden where you feel
like you want to take a bath after
watching. You actually care about
these characters.”

WE has ordered a second season
of Raising Sextuplets, debuting
June 30 at 10 p.m., in which the
Masche family relocates from Arizona
to Florida; Bryan’s finance job
falls through, and they are forced to
rely on Jenny’s nursing salary.

“Women tune in to watch the
high drama,” WE president and
general manager Kim Martin
said. “They want to see chaos. But
they want resolution. They want
to feel that it’s time well spent.”

Martin and Miller believe that
will be the case with Sunset Daze,
an Arizona retirement home reality-
series version of The Golden
Girls (which airs on the network).
To the backdrop of the Bee Gees’
Staying Alive, the presentation
reel depicted characters dubbed
“Mr. Romeo,” “Ex-Nun” and
“Most Likely To Succeed” dancing,
partying and enjoying themselves.

“These are people living the rest
of their lives with purpose. It’s inspirational
and fun to watch,”
Miller said. WE ordered 10 half hour
installments that are set to
bow on April 28 at 10 p.m.

April 25 marks the debut of
Girl Meets Gown, which focuses
on three to four brides per
installment visiting Stardust Celebration,
a busy Dallas bridal boutique
where stylists try to cater to
the demands of a discriminating
and often difficult clientele.

In You’re Wearing That?!?, premiering
May 14, New York stylist
Luciene Salomone provides
mothers and daughters with advice
on how to overcome their
wardrobe differences. Among
the celebrity mothers on the
show are American Idol contestant
Kimberly Locke, poker
player Annie Duke and actress
Charlene Tilton.

Another famous mother/daughter
combo, Joan and Melissa Rivers,
will open up their lives in the
docuseries Mother Knows Best?
Inveterate New Yorker Joan turns
Melissa’s world upside down when
she moves cross-country and
complicates her progeny’s life,
which includes a young son and
a live-in boyfriend. Eight onehour
episodes are scheduled to
premiere in the fourth quarter.

As is Downsized, where the
nine-member Bruce family,
which has been accustomed
to living quite well, spending
$15,000 to $18,000 per month,
must significantly scale back
their lives in the face of foreclosures
and the recession. Indeed,
the show reel, replete with coupon
imagery, trumpeted that
they are about to become “the
cheapest family in America.”

Elsewhere, Fix My Family, from
former VH1 executive Michael
Hirschorn’s Ish Entertainment,
was billed as a cross between Supernanny
and In Treatment, with
some Intervention-esque undertones,
courtesy of tough therapist
Dr. Tara Fields, who provides
advice to troubled families. It’s
scheduled to premiere during
first-quarter 2011.

Martin’s network also secured
the rights to all eight seasons of
Charmed, and will begin stripping
back-to-back installments
on weekdays, beginning June 21.

The GM said discussions continue
with a host of distributors
for WE sister-service Wedding
Central, currently carried by
parent Cablevision Systems and
Mediacom Communications. Its
advertising roster counts Match.
com, David’s Bridal and GEICO.

Vice president of advertising
sales Scott Collins is sanguine
about WE’s upfront prospects
given the “very healthy” scatter
market and “a lot of demand for
the very family-friendly” roster of
shows.

September