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WE Grooming Stylist Series

Oct 10, 2005  •  Post A Comment

WE: Women’s Entertainment has greenlighted a new series that aims to take viewers and sponsors backstage to the world of celebrity stylists.

“Style Me With Rachel Hunter” is scheduled to premiere Jan. 20. The show features a competition for personal stylists similar to the one Bravo’s “Project Runway” conducts for fashion designers. In “Style Me,” 12 aspiring stylists take on challenges and vie for a $10,000 prize and a chance to dress Ms. Hunter for a red carpet event.

L’Oréal Paris, which is also a sponsor of “Project Runway,” and Payless Shoe Source have signed on as sponsors. The network also expects to add a credit card company to the lineup. Those companies will all run ads on the network in addition to having their goods featured on “Style Me.” Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Executive VP and General Manager Kim Martin said the show fits naturally into the original programming strategy WE has been pursuing since she took charge of the network nine months ago. The project also is the latest in the network’s string of efforts to become more active in the growing area of product integration.

Ms. Martin has been pursuing three main categories in original programming at WE: relationships, pop culture and personal style.

“We’re always looking for programming that fits in that personal-style genre,” she said. She said that the next best thing to being a Hollywood celebrity is being a celebrity stylist. “Our viewers know what stylists are, and they want to know how can I get this look.”

One episode of the show will be shot on location at a L’Oréal Paris site in New York. In the final episode Ms. Hunter will be made up using L’Oréal cosmetics exclusively. In another episode, the aspiring stylists will attempt to remake a group of tourists. The tourists will purchase shoes at Payless as part of their new look. The purchases will be made using the credit card of the sponsor still to be named.

Ms. Martin said the producers of “Full Frontal Fashion,” Ultra HD, brought the idea for “Style Me” to the network. The latest season of “Full Frontal,” one of the network’s oldest shows, ends in January and “Style Me” will take its Friday 10 p.m. time slot. Ms. Martin said a decision on renewing “Full Frontal” has not yet been made.

Some of the original programming on WE has caught on, especially “Bridezillas,” which was recently renewed for a third season, and “American Princess.” For the summer, prime-time ratings were up 50 percent from the previous summer, with a 25 percent increase in adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Ms. Martin said WE has done sponsorship deals before, but, “We’re approaching them more aggressively,” she said.

While sponsors are closely intertwined with content in “Style Me,” Arlene Manos, president of Rainbow National Network Advertising Sales, said the network had the show idea before it went to advertisers. “We’re not in the business of making infomercials,” she said.

While the ad buys were negotiated at about the time of the upfront, Ms. Manos said, the network was discussing the show with advertisers months before.

Ms. Manos said WE offers an attractive environment for branded entertainment. “The cheerful, upbeat voice of WE does lend itself to this. People like being associated with programs that speak to that particular viewer, and I think we do it effectively without it being heavy-handed.”

“Style Me” is a co-production of WE and Ultra HD, a Voom HD network.