Vera Wang Is Going to Disney Brand

Aug 9, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Vera Wang’s empire is about to get bigger.

Buena Vista Television has confirmed that the fashion designer has inked a deal to host a lifestyle series for the distributor. Sources said the series could air in any of three media: network, cable or syndication, though sources said cable and syndication are the most likely venues.

If the series heads to syndication, it would most likely debut in fall 2005, insiders said.

“In the fashion world, both models and designers have now come to a celebrity status that they have not had before,” said Bill Carroll, VP of group programming at Katz Television. “In this post-`Queer Eye [for the Straight Guy]’ period, when fashion, makeovers and lifestyle have all become important, it’s not surprising that producers would go to the fashion world and look for breakout stars.”

The series would be executive produced by former Sony music chief Tommy Mottola and “The Original Latin Kings of Comedy” executive producer Jeb Brien. Mr. Mottola now runs the Casablanca Records label with Universal Music Group, home to artists such as Usher.

Among those dressed by Ms. Wang are Uma Thurman, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Jessica Simpson and Tyra Banks. Ms. Wang is already familiar to TV viewers from appearances on NBC Universal’s “Access Hollywood” and the “Today” show. Ms. Wang first came to prominence in the early 1970s as an editor at Vogue magazine. She worked for designer Ralph Lauren in the 1980s before forming her own company.

Ms. Wang could join Isaac Mizrahi on the list of designers with daytime shows. Mr. Mizrahi signed a deal to develop a series with NBC Universal being targeted for daytime syndication.

The challenge for the two designers, according to Mr. Carroll, will be to translate their brand names into Nielsen eyeballs.

“Anyone who hasn’t been a broadcaster has a learning curve that exists when they get their own show,” he said. “But that can be overcome if the producers find the right show for them, especially since audiences already identify them with a high-end lifestyle and high fashion.”

Buena Vista will debut “The Tony Danza Show” in first-run syndication Sept. 13.