'Jersey Shore' Producer Launching 'Love Handles' at Lifetime (Exclusive)
The unscripted series from SallyAnn Salsano revolves around overweight couples attempting to save their lives and relationships.
SallyAnn Salsano remembers bumping into Nancy Dubuc, who had just taken over as president of Lifetime, during a trip to New York last spring. Former MTV boss Tony DiSanto introduced the two and suggested they work on a project together.
The next morning, Salsano recalls waking up to her blackberry buzzing with an email from Dubuc, who was looking for that project. Panicked, Salsano fired off Love Handles, an unscripted series idea that was in limbo at another network. The concept: overweight couples who are attempting to save their lives and relationships. Within a couple of weeks, Salsano was back on a plane back to New York, and the show was sold.
Nearly a year later, Salsano is still taken aback by the speed at which the decision was made. “At most networks, they’ll say, ‘we’re going to bring it up the food chain, we’re going to wait, we’re going to focus group it, we’re going to test it, we’re going to market it, we’re going to do 85 pilots, we’re going to retest it,” she muses. “So when Nancy was like, ‘let’s do it,’ I almost didn’t believe her.’”
Dubuc says she was drawn to the double transformation element of the show. “In each episode,” she says, “one or both members of the couple go through the weight loss process and have to ask themselves the tough question of should they stay together.”
What’s more, she was attracted to Salsano’s voice, which was honed for a daytime audience during her early work on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. “That’s a great voice for Lifetime,” says Dubuc, “and if you can translate those themes of daytime into a primetime audience, it’s a home run.”
The show, which Dubuc notes “couldn’t be any different than Jersey Shore,” will premiere later this month. The eight hour-long episodes are being executive produced by Salsano and Joel Zimmer.