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Bravo becoming Bravo Media, launching talent and licensing divisions

By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 06/15/2007 

Bravo, which was previously formally known as Bravo Company, has announced it is changing its official name to Bravo Media and will launch new talent, licensing and publishing divisions to help the cable network broaden its programming focus and become a new global, multimedia content company.

While the cable network will still simply be known as Bravo, the announcement means the organization is expanding beyond just television to include talent management (via a new alliance with Pangea Management Group), publishing, merchandising, wireless, digital, radio, and international divisions.

"We've evolved into a multimedia company with a strong, clear brand, and are organizing our business for the future," said Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick. "While television is at our core and will always be the heart of what we do, Bravo Media extends that content and brand to every platform to suit our passionate consumers' lifestyles."

Pangea was formed last February by RDF USA, a production company that primarily focuses on developing original reality television programming or adapting foreign formats for American audiences, and run by RDF CEO Chris Coelen.  RDF USA, a division of RDF Media Group, a London-based television production company, produces ABC's Wife SwapOther upcoming reality projects also include ABC's Shaq's Big Challenge and A&E's The Two Coreys.

According to Bravo, the new alliance will allow the talent management firm to begin to "help facilitate the burgeoning careers" and "manage the network's roster of new talent from Bravo's hit franchise series including future seasons of Top Chef, Real Housewives, Work Out, Top Design, Shear Genius, among others."

"Bravo is really smart and forward-thinking. It's going to be a real revenue-generating opportunity for everyone," Coelen told The Hollywood Reporter about the network's new alliance with Pangea.

According to USA Today, Bravo is still undecided on whether, now that it will be in the talent management business, it will (presumably similar to what American Idol does with its finalists) begin forcing all its non-celebrity reality contestants to sign Pangea talent deals as a condition of their participation in a show.

"They need our help, and we're happy to help them," Zalaznick, painting a picture of helplessness that many of the network's former reality participants would no doubt disagree with, told USA Today about Bravo's reality stars. "They get confused. They get a million terrible offers, and if they make bad career choices, it's bad for Bravo."

"If you're going to create stars, which is what Bravo is doing, then it makes a lot of sense and is forward-thinking to participate in the upside that you're creating," Coelen told the newspaper.

As part of the Bravo Media's publishing division, it plans to market a series of books based on its franchises, including a cookbook based on Top Chef, featuring the best recipes from all three seasons of the series as well as commentary from the show's personalities and chefs. Master Cutlery will also release a brand of Top Chef knives under Bravo Media's merchandising division, and kitchenware from the culinary competition series could follow, as well as Work Out gym apparel.

In addition to its new talent, licensing and publishing divisions, Bravo is also creating Bravo To Go, which will focus on wireless content and launch with a Top Chef game; Bravo Experience, an event planning division that will organize summer camps, cruises, and food tours as well as launch with a "Bravo Fan Fest" at Universal City Walk in Los Angeles this December; Bravo Radio, a radio division that it hopes will extend the network's shows and talent to both terrestrial and satellite radio; Bravo Digital, a reorganization of the network's websites that will include the launch of and a "reintroduction" of its recently acquired Television Without Pity website; and Bravo International, which will attempt to license its shows in other countries.

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