Norton is judged Lifetime-worthy


British TV personality Graham Norton has signed on to host Lifetime Television's untitled Popularity Reality pilot (previously known as "Judgment Day").

The hourlong project, from Simon Andreae (USA Network pilot's "Ebaum's World") and Fox Television Studios, is described as an in-studio popularity contest where seven women are voted off one by one by a female audience based on how they handle a series of questions and challenges, demonstrating how people all too often judge a book by its cover. The pilot shoots in June in Los Angeles.

"This is not the kind of host-driven show where the host is scripted but (instead is) in the moment and off the cuff," Lifetime senior vp reality programming Jessica Samet said. "Graham is witty and articulate and has his pulse on pop culture. He also makes people feel comfortable and can be in the moment."

Norton, who said he watches Lifetime when he's in the U.S., said he sparked to the project's concept when approached about hosting it.

"It sounded like a cute format — God knows we all judge," he said. "Whenever people pitch a show to you, the only way I can judge is, would I watch that? … And this sounds like something I want to watch."

He said that as host, he hopes to keep the show humorous but also "soften some of the blows if the audience gets really harsh." Samet added that while the show will demonstrate the superficial side of life, it ultimately will have a heart as well.

Norton next appears in the talker "The Graham Norton Show," debuting at 10 p.m. June 2 on BBC America. (The show airs on BBC 2 in the U.K.) His other recent credits include such BBC series as "Any Dream Will Do" and "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" Before moving to BBC, his Channel 4 series "So Graham Norton" and "V Graham Norton" earned a total of four BAFTA Awards.

Norton is repped by UTA and managed by Melanie Rockcliffe in the U.K.