E! gambles on scripted reality

E! Entertainment is on track to launch scripted series in 2008. The celebrity focused broadcaster expects to pilot several scripts with shows launching early next year. "I believe we are on track for scripted programming for 2008. We’re in the thick of the development process," says E!’s vice president, international sales, Duccio Donati.

Meanwhile, it is bringing a number of new series to market, including its first foray into scripted reality, Paradise City, a hybrid drama and reality show that was created by the producers of MTV hit Laguna Beach, Go Go Luckey Production.

It is also offering straight-up reality show Sunset Tan, following the owners and clients of an LA tanning salon. "It’s a lot of fun with some very LA characters, very buff, good looking guys, making lots of money, with some conflict," says Donati. Other shows on the slate include Extreme Hollywood, which covers Tinseltown’s debauched behaviour.

There are also shows from E!’s sister fashion network Style including I Propose, a show that follows a traditional wedding proposal in a Punk’d style.

E! expects there to be significant interest from digital operators at MIP TV, with a lot of focus on video-on-demand and download-to-own deals.

Donati says that programmes like Hugh Hefner’s The Girls Next Door and talk show The Soup have been working well domestically as downloads and he expects them to work well internationally. "We’re looking carefully at what Apple iTunes is doing internationally. I think [iTunes] will translate very well in the international market," he says.

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