SoapNet struts on runway

Picks up fashion biz reality series

Disney's SoapNet has picked up a reality series centering on new assistants working in the fashion and beauty industries.

"The Fashionista Diaries," from Disney's Buena Vista Prods. in association with Go Go Luckey Prods. ("Laguna Beach") and Hour One, will follow two new assistants at three companies (a total of six women) — Flirt Cosmetics, Jane magazine and PR agency Seventh House — as they collaborate to produce clothing designer Charlotte Ronson's fashion show and afterparty during New York's Fall Fashion Week 2007. Production on 10 one-hour episodes begins in May, and the series will premiere in July.

Brian Frons, president of daytime at Disney-ABC Television Group, noted the benefit of having SoapNet and Buena Vista Prods. under the same division. (Frons was named to his current position a year ago, when SoapNet and BVP were added to his duties as president of ABC Daytime.)

"Now that SoapNet and Buena Vista Prods. are both part of the daytime division at Disney-ABC Television Group, we can leverage the strength of SoapNet's distribution with the creative expertise of Buena Vista Prods. as never before," he said. "This is the first of many new series that will originate with Buena Vista and find their way to SoapNet."

He added that he and his team have been conducting research during the past year to find out what daytime and SoapNet viewers want to watch.

"We found they get their soap fix in a number of different ways: from daily soap operas, from primetime shows like 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Grey's' Anatomy' and from reality shows like 'The Real World' and 'Laguna Beach,' " he said. "We air daytime soaps, we just started airing 'One Tree Hill' and 'The O.C.' reruns, and now we're going to start giving viewers reality soaps as well."

SoapNet GM Deborah Blackwell noted that "Diaries" is a real-life "Ugly Betty," adding that the plan is to take advantage of cross-promotional opportunities for the show across all brands.

Frons said SoapNet will have three original series on in the summer: "Diaries," the new series "General Hospital: Night Shift" and the fourth season of the reality series "I Wanna Be a Soap Star."

"Diaries" is executive produced by Gary Auerbach, Julie Auerbach and Jenny Daly.