WE Expands Slate of Original Productions
By Allison Romano -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/20/2003 8:00:00 PM
WE: Women's Entertainment is ready to offer more of its own fare. The Rainbow Media-owned channel, now in 52 million homes, is expanding its original programming with its first comedy, three movies and a batch of reality series for the coming TV season.
WE's first foray into sitcom production is The Tinsley Bumble Show, a half-hour about a young woman who has to make it on her own after her wealthy father is busted for white-collar crime.
Developed and produced completely in-house, Tinsley Bumble mixes scripted dialogue with improvisational acting. For example, when Tinsley goes to New York's Actor's Studio, that storyline is scripted, but the classroom action is improv.
The show is also shot with a single digital camera, making it cheaper and more mobile.
Tinsley Bumble should cost WE less than $100,000 per episode, more akin to the price tag for a reality show than a traditional sitcom. WE will start with six episodes and add another six to eight if it's a hit.
With original movies and reality, says Martin Von Ruden, executive vice president and general manager of WE, attracting big names is key. Upcoming original movie Between Strangers, slated for November, stars Sophia Loren and Mira Sorvino. And Courteney Cox is executive-producing Trading Spaces-style lifestyle show Mix It Up, where roommates, couples or a family try to mesh their styles and possessions. Although Cox doesn't host the show, "her association and contribution" will be clear, Von Ruden said.
WE will also offer new reality shows: Diva Detectives follows an all-female Las Vegas detective agency; Bridezilla gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at brides on the brink. And WE is extending its Single in the City franchise with Single in South Beach and Single in Las Vegas.
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