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Bravo’s New Spin on Dating

Bravo’s putting a new spin on the dating show: getting divorced mates to play matchmaker for each other.

The NBC Universal pop-culture cable network has greenlighted a pilot for Take My Ex, an hour-long reality show in which divorced folks find mates for their ex-spouses. Each episode would focus on a recently divorced pair, documenting their better days and their current strife and then tasking each with finding a better mate for the other.

The pilot, currently in development, comes from Sam Mettler, the creator/executive producer of A&E’s Intervention, a show in which addicts are confronted on their problems by their loved ones.

“It explores relationships between couples and the fundamentals of a couple that has split up, what attracted them to each other in the first place and what other people find attractive about that relationship,” says Frances Berwick, executive VP, programming and production, Bravo.

Acknowledging that she had to be vague about the project, she called it “a very new take on the whole concept of dating and relationships.”

The network is expected to announce a programming slate of other new fare at its upfront presentation to press in New York this week.

Closed-ended Ex combines elements of Bravo’s two main successful breeds of reality: creative-competition shows like Project Runway and Top Chef, and personality-driven docu-reality.

The network is coming off first quarter up 16% in total viewers (to 583,000 in prime) and 19% in viewers 18-49 (to 336,000), thanks in part to Chef’s second-season finale and new competition series Top Design, as well as strong showings by docu-reality series Real Housewives and Workout. Both were up double digits in their second seasons over their first, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Ex is not Bravo’s only spousal-shenanigans show in the works. Set to premiere in the coming months is Better Half, in which husbands teach their wives how to do the husbands’ job and then the two compete to see who has mastered the task best.

Elsewhere in cable news, USA Network finished the first quarter as the top-rated channel in all key demos. It averaged 2.73 million viewers in prime on the continued strength of wrestling programming, new episodes Monk and Psych, and the fifth season of Nashville Star. It was followed by non–ad-supported Disney Channel with 2.46 million, TNT with 2.01 million, TBS with 1.68 million and Fox News with 1.6 million.