Untying the Knot

Former Atlanta 'Real Housewife' and Grammy winner Kandi Burruss stars in 'The Kandi Factory,' due on Bravo April 9. by Gary Levin, USA TODAY
Updated: 04/02/2013 01:36pm
Bravo is dramatically expanding its lineup of "docu-soaps" and other reality series about social butterflies, newlyweds, a divorce attorney and "extreme" parents. The channel, riding high on the burgeoning Real Housewives franchise, is adding 17 new shows in the next year, and returning 18 others. It also continues to plot its first, tentative foray into scripted programming. Among new series: • Newlyweds: The First Year (premiering May 6), which follows four couples over the course of a year, starting with their wedding day (the honeymoons don't often last long). • Untying the Knot, which profiles attorney Vikki Ziegler. • And Extreme Guide to Parenting, chronicling sometimes-shameful parenting practices. In more typical Bravo fashion, several new shows are patterned after Real Housewives, without the housewife part. Among them (with dates if announced): Below Deck, due this summer, concerns crew members on a luxury yacht. • City Sisters (fall) are single, "up-and-coming movers and shakers" in New York. • Eat, Drink, Love (summer) revolves around Los Angeles women in the restaurant industry. • Southern Charm profiles young aristocrats in Charleston, S.C., plantations. Taking Atlanta (summer) shows "ambitious go-getters" in that Southern city. 100 Days of Summer portrays the Chicago "it" crowd. • Two Fit Girls follows two friends and fitness entrepreneurs. • And Ladies of London and Princesses: Long Island, both self-explanatory. Still more new projects and spinoffs: • The Kandi Factory (premiering April 9), starring Real Housewife Kandi Burruss. • Courtney Loves Dallas, featuring a cast member from Most Eligible Dallas.Fashion Queens, a talk show starring two Atlanta celebrity stylists and a New York "fashion maven." • Property Envy, a talk show about luxury real estate. • And Thicker Than Water: The Tankards, which follows the family of NBA star-turned-Memphis-minister Ben Tankard. Real Housewives of Orange County returned last weekend, Atlanta just wrapped its biggest season yet and Bravo also announced new seasons of the New Jersey edition (due June 2), along with those in Beverly Hills, Atlanta, Miami and New York. Other renewals include Flipping Out, Tabatha Takes Over, Million Dollar Listing, Shahs of Sunset andVanderpump Rules. Development chief (and Watch What Happens host) Andy Cohen says scripted series "allow us to expand our creative diversity," and one pilot, Rita, starring Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad),will be shot next week. The goal is to have at least one scripted series on the air next season. Other potential scripted projects include: • Heiresses, based on an upcoming novel from Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars). • And High and Low, about rival half-brothers who open a restaurant, from Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos). Ratings grew 6% in the first three months of this year, to an average of 1.1 million viewers in prime time, while the channel ranks third in cable among its target audience of women ages 18 to 49, behind only TBS and USA. "What's driven all our ratings growth is all about original series," says Bravo president Frances Berwick. And the channel rarely airs repeats of series from other networks, a cable staple: "Our goal is to do seven days of originals." Copyright 2013 USATODAY.com