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While she has yet to sign off on a final image from a shoot held earlier this week, the show’s host opted to bare all as part of the network’s promotional campaign for the fashion competition series’ ninth season, which will kick off this summer.
The decision, which Lifetime president and general manager Nancy Dubuc made public during a broad-ranging discussion at Real Screen’s Factual Entertainment Forum on Thursday, was inspired by the cable network’s push — and for that matter, need — to embrace the contemporary woman.
Though Dubuc believes women have changed more in the last 15 years than any other time in history, she told a packed room that the Lifetime brand that she inherited a year ago hadn’t changed with her. Since taking the reigns at the femme-centric network, Dubuc has strategically pushed both her programming and her marketing teams to move away from that “women in peril” stereotype that has plagued the once top-rated Lifetime in recent years.
Instead, her staff has been tasked with finding and celebrating female characters who are brazen, strong, confident and sexy. To drive that message home, all four characteristics flashed on screen during a network sizzle reel that Dubuc shared midpanel featuring the network’s scripted, unscripted and movie fare, including Runway, Army Wives, upcoming Against the Wall and The Protector. To hear Dubuc tell it, having Klum show off her model figure is a way of showcasing a woman who has all of those attributes.
It is also a way to court attention. (Proof: the image hasn’t even been released, and this reporter is already covering it.) And as Dubuc acknowledged during the session, finding ways to cut through the clutter is an increasingly vital piece of the television formula today.
Plus, she said with a big smile, “it’s Heidi F–in’ Klum.”
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