NEW YORK, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Logo, the entertainment network for gays and their families and friends, from MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is aggressively setting its original programming course for 2010.
Logo, available in 45 million homes, announced today a number of original series greenlights and pick-ups, building off of the momentum of its most successful series launch yet with "RuPaul's Drag Race" and the network's partnership with sister MTV Networks service Comedy Central on the production of the third season of the "The Sarah Silverman Program." Based on its widespread popularity and critical acclaim, Logo has already picked up a second season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" slated for a Monday, February 1, 2010 premiere.
The four greenlit series include "The Robert Verdi Show Starring Robert Verdi," which casts an unblinking eye on the celebrity-filled, super-high-stress lives of "stylist to the stars" Verdi and his creative team; "RuPaul's Drag U," where RuPaul and other drag queens apply fairy godmother dust to the looks and lives of people in need of a little assistance; "The Arrangement," an original series that follows the surprisingly intense action in a high-end floral design competition; and "Kept," the much-buzzed-about project that takes an unflinching look at a handful of gay men in Manhattan who are, or aspire to be "kept" by another man.
In addition, Logo has ordered new episodes of some of its most popular original series including "Beautiful People," the BBC series inspired by the eccentric childhood of style guru Simon Doonan, "Exes & Ohs," which chronicles hapless lesbian heroine Jennifer's trials and tribulations, the critically acclaimed "Real Momentum" documentary series and "The Big Gay Sketch Show," executive produced by Rosie O'Donnell.
"As we approach our five year anniversary, Logo is proud to launch our most extensive and widely appealing line-up of original programming yet," said Dave Mace, Senior Vice President, Programming, Logo. "We've had tremendous success since our launch in 2005 connecting with our LGBT viewers and their interests. With these new projects, we're deepening that connection while also expanding our voice to include the LGBT community's families and friends.
We're presenting more opportunities for gays and lesbians to watch meaningful and entertaining programming together with their family members, gay or straight."
Details on greenlights follow:
"THE ROBERT VERDI SHOW STARRING ROBERT VERDI" (8 Episodes – 30 Minutes) Premieres Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Robert Verdi is renowned as a self-made entertainment conglomerate and "stylist to the stars." Logo will follow the hilarious Robert Verdi and his creative team as they try to take over pop culture one party, product and outfit at a time. Each episode of the new reality-comedy series focuses on Verdi balancing the day-to-day antics of his hectic creative services business with the serious pursuit of his completely insane and over-the-top dreams, such as getting his own TV channel, his own magazine and his very own ice cream.
"The Robert Verdi Show Starring Robert Verdi," is Executive Produced by Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Jo Honig for True Entertainment.
"RUPAUL'S DRAG U" (8 Episodes – 60 Minutes) Premieres July 2010
"RuPaul's Drag U" is a series where everyday women compete in a series of challenges to unleash their inner diva. Hosted by RuPaul and a team of drag queen instructors, "Drag U" is a spin-off of the breakout hit series "RuPaul's Drag Race."
Produced by World of Wonder which has created a number of hit series including "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood," "Million Dollar Listing," "Fantasia For Real" (premiering on VH1 in January), and "RuPaul's Drag Race."
"THE ARRANGEMENT" (8 Episodes – 60 Minutes) Premieres October 2010
"The Arrangement" is a competition series that takes the art of floral design to the extreme. The show pits talented floral designers against each other in a series of over-the-top challenges – indoors and out – that force them to flex their creative muscles and show off some real flower power with blooms, plants and gardens.
Produced by Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder (credits above) & Joe del Hierro and David Stanley for Oh, Really! Productions ("The Big Gay Sketch Show" and "Transamerican Love Story").
"KEPT" (8 Episodes) Premieres October 2010
Logo's much-buzzed-about original docu-series delves into the privileged lives of New York City's real gay homemakers and socialites. Follow the friendships, rivalries and aspirations of the Big Apple's elite 'kept' men, and some who aspire to be kept, and discover the astonishing realities about all the things money can – and can't – buy.
Executive Producers are Steven Weinstock and Glenda Hersh for True Entertainment.
Returning series include:
"RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE" (Returning Series, 12 Episodes – 1 Hour) Premieres Monday, February 1, 2010 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
America's guiltiest pleasure "RuPaul's Drag Race" made history as it premiered as the first-ever reality television show featuring drag queens. And on the heels of its most successful series launch yet, Logo has ordered a second season of its original competitive series. RuPaul, the world's most famous drag queen, has pushed the boundaries of popular culture on an international level and will be back to search the country for another drag queen superstar in the making.
On the first season of "RuPaul's Drag Race," thousands applied but only 9 of the nation's hottest, most glamorous drag queens were chosen to fight for the title of America's next drag queen superstar. Now a new batch of drag performers will have an opportunity to fill RuPaul's high heels when he proclaims, "Gentlemen, start your engines. May the best woman win!"
While "RuPaul's Drag Race" took a look at the outrageous world of drag, it also revealed the courage, perseverance and humanity of men who have overcome and endured the hardships of a masculine dominated society that mocks and makes fun of men who act like women. Not only did viewers get a bird's eye view of what it takes for these chameleons to transform themselves but were also able take away the secrets of the artistry of drag. This second edition will reflect the same hallmarks as well as the now classic "lip synch for your life" segment.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers and Chris McKim as Co-Executive Producer.
"EXES & OHS" (Returning Series, 8 Episodes – 30 Minutes) Premieres Summer 2010
Everyone's favorite hapless lesbian heroine Jennifer (Michelle Paradise) returns for a second season to search for Ms. Right while attempting to follow the "rules" of lesbian life, love and friendship. Produced by E1 Entertainment, "Exes & Ohs" is the first-ever scripted lesbian comedy series for basic cable.
The eight-episode half-hour scripted series, based on the short film "The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide," picks up from the last season with the quirky Jennifer trying to balance her new relationship while attempting to become a respected filmmaker with her new documentary. The adventures of her best friends also continue as couple, Chris (Megan Cavanagh) and Kris (Angela Featherstone) deal with the anxieties and joys of pregnancy, while Jennifer's former-girlfriend-now-best-friend, Sam (Marnie Alton), continues to conquer the world of real estate and her commitment-phobic ways.
As these friends navigate through their lives, a new girl in town, Devin (Jennifer Spence), begins to mix things up. As the audience jumps in and out of Jennifer's highly imaginative mind, new twists and turns will arise as this group of friends faces sperm donors, lesbian speed-dating and (gasp!) a sex scandal leading to the ultimate question: What now?
"Exes & Ohs" is Executive Produced by Lael McCall of Principia Productions, Noreen Halpern and John Morayniss of E1 Entertainment and by Michelle Paradise, Lee Friedlander and Billy Grundfest. Series is also scheduled to air on Super Channel and Showcase in Canada.
"BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE" (Returning Series, 6 episodes – 30 Minutes) Premieres June 2010
Inspired by the eccentric childhood of style guru Simon Doonan, growing up in the suburbs of working class Reading in England, the critically-acclaimed series first aired in the UK on the BBC last fall and is executive produced by Jon Plowman ("Absolutely Fabulous"). The cast includes Olivia Colman ("That Mitchell and Webb Look"), Meera Syal, Aidan McArdle and Samuel Barnett ("The History Boys"). It also brings together youngsters Luke Ward-Wilkinson and Layton Williams who steal the screen as the teenage Simon and his best friend Kyle – better known as Kylie.
"REAL MOMENTUM" (Returning Series, 8 episodes) Premieres April 2010
Logo's acclaimed "Real Momentum" documentary series explores change and growth in our world by way of fascinating and unexpected issues and stories about diverse people, issues, and places. Past documentaries introduced viewers to the challenges of bisexuals, sexuality in the Muslim world, the rich histories of Fire Island and Provincetown, music icons like Elton John and Freddie Mercury, pop artists like David LaChappelle and Keith Haring, and sexuality in the animal kingdom.
In this the 9th season meet a gay Christian pop star duo, the man behind photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the residents of the trans capital of the U.S., and the women of the first ever "World's Most Beautiful Transsexual Pageant." Discover the story about homophobia in women's collegiate athletics, and don't miss the network television premiere of the Academy Award winning documentary "Freeheld," an extraordinary story about a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer trying to transfer her pension to her domestic partner.
"THE BIG GAY SKETCH SHOW" (Returning Series, 8 Episodes – 30 Minutes) Premieres April 2010
Logo's irreverent comedy show "The Big Gay Sketch Show" is back for a third season featuring original characters, satires and sketches with a unique gay perspective. Headed by a cast of seven fresh up-and-coming comedic actors, the half-hour show features a combination of traditional and music-based sketches, pop culture parodies and recurring characters, all from a unique LGBT perspective. The show tapes before a live studio audience in New York City.
This third season will include celebrity guest appearances in every episode including Rosie O'Donnell, who also serves as one of the show's executive producers, Sharon Osbourne, Julianna Margulies, Isaac Mizrahi, Rachel Dratch, Andre Leon Talley, Bethenny Frankel and Andy Cohen. The series resonated with viewers across broadband and mobile platforms as well.
"The Big Gay Sketch Show" is Executive Produced by Rosie O'Donnell, Dan MacDonald, and Joe Del Hierro for Oh Really! Productions as well as Sue Fellows and Michele Armour for Marobru Productions. Amanda Bearse ("Married with Children") serves as the series Director. Scott King serves as Executive Producer and Head Writer.
All series are Executive Produced for Logo by Dave Mace, Pamela Post and Christopher Willey.
For more on Logo and these series log on to LogoTV.com.
Logo is the world's leading ad-supported cable, satellite, online, mobile and digital gay-themed entertainment network from MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B). Launched in 2005, Logo's cable channel is in 45 million homes across the United States and is complemented by a federation of online properties, including LogoTV.com, AfterEllen.com, AfterElton.com, 365gay.com, DowneLink.com and NewNowNext.com. Logo's content is distributed across all leading download-to-own, streaming and mobile services. The most influential brand for the most influential audience, Logo provides a mix of original and acquired entertainment as well as news, social networking and community building that are authentic, smart, fun, entertaining, and inclusive. Logo joins MTV Networks' roster of popular and highly targeted brands which include MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and Spike TV.
ABOUT MTV NETWORKS
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world's leading creators of entertainment content, with brands that engage and connect diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products. The company's portfolio spans more than 150 television channels and 350 digital media properties worldwide, and includes MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Harmonix, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Noggin, The N, AddictingGames, Neopets, COMEDY CENTRAL, Spike TV, TV Land, Atom, Gametrailers and Xfire.