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Bravo Gets Real, Funny

New shows from Bravo include the challenges of being Jay, of selling houses in L.A., and the great things about being gay, fat, or a 30-something red-stater (read on).

Having just picked up an Emmy nod for its fashion-focused reality show, Project Runway, Bravo will spin off a documentary on the star of the show’s first season. Project Jay (Miramax and the Weinstein Co.) will chronicle Jay McCarroll as he moves from rural Pennsylvania to New York to start his own fashion line.

Project Runway, which yesterday earned the only Emmy nod for a cable network in the "Outstanding Reality Competition Program" category, grew a whopping 468% in the ratings throughout its first season, drawing more than 2 million viewers for its February finale and earning a second season pick-up for itself and a cult fan following for its small-town star.

Also coming to the arts/pop culture network in 1Q 2006 is Million Dollar Listing: Hollywood (from World of Wonder), a six-episode series on real estate wheeling and dealing in L.A.

Then there's A.S.S.S.S.C.A.T.: Improv (Constant Communications), a special featuring improv comedy troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade and slated for fall 2005. (The acronym stands for Automatic Sprinkler System Shutdown Siamese Connection Alternative Theater, if that helps).

And in October, Bravo will launch a pop culture commentary series tentatively titled Great Things.

Celebrities and comedians will weigh in on why it’s great to be such things as fat, gay, or in a red state and in your 30s (we're not making this up). “Some Great Things About Being Fat,” the network says “might be that you are likely to be hilarious and you’re everybody’s best friend.” And the great things about being gay, according to Bravo, might include “the parades and your innate sense of style.” Perhaps fittingly, the series is from Idiot Box Productions.

NBC Universal-owned Bravo averaged 403,000 total viewers in prime time in second quarter 2005, down 18% from last year.

Upcoming summer series include Situation: Comedy, a contest between two teams vying to create the next hit sitcom, and Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance, about comedian Howie Mandel.