In the New York Times' story about Bravo and its reality show engine, we learn that like any media company should, staffers read tweets and comments on blogs and Facebook to better understand their audience's likes and dislikes: "We get a lot of information about story lines, and the different people, and what they want to see more of," said Frances Berwick, Bravo's president. "We're very, very research-oriented, and there's a degree of the creative process which is scientific, and we will use every single bit of insight which we can generate." They even interview viewers in their own homes.
But then wait, what!? We also find out that Bravo canceled Top Chef's Fabio Viviani's reality show A Catered Affair. With some very curious reasoning:
Talking about spinoffs for individual breakout stars (the Real Housewives of New York's Bethenny Frankel, Shear Genius'Tabatha Coffey) they break the news that the show from the fast-talking, one-liner-dropping, season five fan-favorite Viviani isn't going to happen:
Other efforts, like the cooking show “Chef Academy,” have been less successful, in part, says Ms. Berwick of Bravo, because the audience was unfamiliar with the star — a European chef — and because it deviated from Bravo’s standard format, leaving viewers confused about whether it was a “Top Chef”-like competition or a reality show about the chef.
Some projects never get off the ground. Fabio Viviani, a charismatic Italian cook who was a fan favorite on “Top Chef,” was a potential Bravolebrity, but a program featuring him as a caterer was abandoned because of the “Chef Academy” problems.
Which just doesn't make any sense: Chef Academy was a train wreck from the beginning. Featuring Michelin-starred chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, the show had an uninspired concept and descended into a stunt: They even cast an ex-porn star in some lame attempt to goose ratings.
A Catered Affair was to be a reality show centered around Fabio Viviani that Variety described as chronicling "the challenges he faces as he and business partner Jacopo Falleni look to expand their restaurant and catering business in Los Angeles." And to blame the cancellation of A Catered Affair on the problems of Chef Academy is madness. Viviani's show doesn't sound anything like Chef Academy at all.
A few theories: Either the show was genuinely terrible and couldn't be salvaged, and Bravo is trying to save face; or more insidiously, Bravo is announcing the "cancellation" because they want to measure and gauge the internet outcry to better know: Does the world need a Fabio Viviani reality show? Will people watch it?
· We’ll Make You a Star (if the Web Agrees) [NYT]
· Bravo Announces Three Docu-Series In Development With Network Favorites [Press Release]
· Three Bravo stars get solo series [Variety]