The producer of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City is set to bring a popular British dating show to US screens. Shed Media US, a subsidiary of the Shed Media Group in the UK, has pitched First Dates to a number of networks and is close to securing a deal for the series.
Pamela Healey, general manager at Shed Media US and executive producer on The Real Housewives of New York City series, told Guardian Liberty Voice she has high hopes for the fixed-camera show, which airs on Channel 4 in the UK and is made by Shed Media producer, Twenty Twenty. “It is underway as a pilot and we’ve had multiple offers on it,” she said. “They [the networks] like the fact the show offers something different to what is already out there – it’s set in a restaurant and everybody there is on a first date.”
She added that there will always an appetite for reality TV because people like to watch interesting characters. “If you think back to the dawn of time in the TV sense, game shows are some of the oldest around and they are reality. The genre is going nowhere – it just continues to reinvent itself and go in different directions.”
Healey said she hoped First Dates would succeed where a number of fellow fixed-camera shows in the US have failed so far. “What we are seeing here [in the US] is fixed camera shows – they are gaining traction,” Healey added. “They’ve been much more popular in the UK until now. Big Brother is a huge hit here but we haven’t quite found the success with fixed camera. One Born Every Minute went two cycles on Lifetime but shows have not been as big as they have in the UK.” First Dates is currently in its second season in the UK and although Healey was not in a position to name the networks Shed US was talking to, she said the company expected to make an announcement soon.
Shed Media US is currently enjoying a record order for The Real Housewives of New York City, which is part of a franchise that follows the lives of bourgeois and professional women in a host of American cities and locations. “We’ve just had our biggest order for New York and are making 20 episodes this season, excluding the reunions,” added Healey. “That’s more than in its entire six seasons. Usually shows take a year to 18 months to turnaround but this seems to be getting stronger as it goes on.”
As The Real Housewives of New York City goes from strength to strength, Healey is convinced the franchise will continue to run for the foreseeable future. “Of course, nothing runs for ever but there is so much demand for all the Housewives shows, whether it’s Atlanta, New Jersey or Orange County, there is wide appeal and we keep it fresh by changing characters and bringing in ones who add something different.”
By Robert Shepherd
Interview with Pamela Healey