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Ovation Looks to Original Dramas

Pasadena, Calif. — Independently-owned arts-andentertainment
network Ovation will look to launch several
scripted drama series within the arts genre over the next
year as it looks to increase its profile among art aficionados
and general viewers.

The network, currently in 50 million homes — up from
just 5 million in 2007 — will partner with international distributors
to develop scripted drama fare to go along with its
collection of arts-themed movie acquisitions, documentaries
and specials, Kris Slava, Ovation’s senior vice president
of programming, told Multichannel News during the
network’s Television Critics Association session last Saturday
(Jan. 14).

The network, which currently airs such series as biography
series Artists and Icons, acquired films like Devil In a
Blue Dress
and 9 to 5 and notable off -network competition
series So You Think You Can Dance, will look to broaden its
appeal with scripted series in 2013 while staying true to its
arts-themed roots.

“We’ll do a wide range of dramas in different periods and
different genres that will be focused on storytelling,” Slava
said, although he would not disclose specific show titles.

In the short term, the network will launch a new block
of movie-themed programming in March dubbed “The
Best You’ve Never Seen,” featuring internationally-produced
films that have never been exhibited in the U.S.
First up is We’ll Take Manhattan, an Ovation and BBC
co-production that chronicles the 1962 pairing of unorthodox
photographer David Bailey and model Jean
Shrimpton in New York for a unique photo shoot that
helped define the cultural mood of the time.

“[The block] will feature content that viewers can’t get
anywhere that appeals to our audience,” Slava said. “It
takes a little more engagement, but also has a little more
reward to it in terms of the kind of stories that can be told
and the impact of the stories.”

While the target audience is upscale 25-to-54-year-old
adults, senior vice president of marketing Gaynor Strachan
Chun said Ovation hopes to reach all viewers interested
in the fine arts.

“We really are a network of artists which makes us
very, very different than anything else on TV,” she said.
“It’s really about telling those powerful
and emotional stories that’s at the center
of every single piece of art. It’s about connecting
people with emotions of art, and
connecting people behind the art, which
are people.”

At TCA, the network profiled a new special,
Motor City Rising, which chronicles
how a growing artistic community is helping
to revitalize a downtrodden Detroit.