D-listers, D-bags, D-liciousness – Bravo’s Got It All This Summer!

If you’re bound and determined to get out and enjoy the sweet summer weather, Bravo’s got other plans for you. What was once a wasteland of reruns and played-out movies has become a slacker’s paradise with some must-watch shows – both new arrivals and returning favorites. With a little bit of culture and a lot of guilty pleasure, your DVR is sure to be working overtime. You’ll definitely want to “watch what happens” with these summer treats!

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 10pm

Filling the artistic void left behind by the loss of Project Runway, this show hopes to discover the “next big thing” in the highly competitive art world. 14 artists, working in a variety of mediums, are competing for $100,000, an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the bragging rights associated with winning a reality competition (because it’s done wonders for the winners of other Bravo shows like Top Design. Who won that again?) Since the artists’ specialties range from photography and filmmaking to sculpture and even…yikes…performance art, you can guarantee someone’s going to be working outside of their “comfort zone” every week. And of course, they’re not here to make friends.

The show fits the Bravo formula with the obligatory model/actress host (here, this interchangeable role is occupied by China Chow), potentially snooty judges (experts in art criticism and gallery curators) and the Tim Gunn-ish mentor (“world-renowned art auctioneer” Simon de Pury. Nope, I haven’t heard of him either). This show is brought to you from Sarah Jessica Parker’s production company, Pretty Pony Matches.

From reading the artist bios on the Bravo website, it seems that the artistically-monikered Peregrine is the front-runner. Perry (can I call you Perry?) is the youngest living artist to be included in the permanent collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art – and owns a lingerie boutique. Trong, sporting an unfortunate Moe Howard haircut, is not only an artist but a true renaissance man. He recently finished writing a “lost chapter” to The Da Vinci Code and is currently working on a “metaphysical GPS” application for the iPhone. Each artist deals with some pretty heavy themes, for example, possibly annoying hipster Ryan’s work addresses the “cult of excess”. The most intriguing artist could be Jaime Lynn. I have to quote this directly from her bio, because if not, you’ll think I’m making this up, “A self-proclaimed Army Brat and a devout Christian, she is inspired by her own struggle to embrace an existence of vapid glitz and fame, juxtaposed by her desire to lead a virtuous and humble life.” (Check out the all of the artist bios for even more pretentiousness!)  

Check out previews of more Bravo shows that are debuting this summer after the jump!

Bethenny’s Getting Married? Premieres Thursday, June 10, 10pm

I’m not sure why the title of this show is a question, and, before a quick search on the Internets (and reading Kelly’s post) my only question was who Bethenny was. Bethenny Frankel’s claim to fame is being one of the Real Housewives of New York City (I thought she was the Millionaire Matchmaker -
a show which I’ve never watched either – at least I was close.)
Bethenny is also the author of two best-selling weight loss/nutrition
books and has a line of cocktails called Skinnygirl. I checked out the
website for said libations and saw the motto “The margarita you can
trust”. I don’t care how many calories it is, if it’s got tequila in
it, you can never trust a margarita. Ever.

Anywhoo, this series focuses on this busy Big Apple-ite as she prepares for her elaborate wedding (SPOLIER ALERT: she married Jason Hoppy on
March 28 at the ritzy Four Seasons) while juggling her busy career and
pregnancy (SPOILER ALERT #2 – Bethenny and Jason welcomed daughter Bryn
into the world on May 8. Bryn Hoppy…that’s a name that sounds like a
character in a Beatrix Potter children’s book (as in Bryn Hoppy’s Funny Sunny Day in the Garden
or something similar.) Look for the stock supporting characters
including the generic harried assistant, eager intern and overly
pampered pooch (in this case a Lhasa mix named “Cookie”.) I have
another question, if she’s just getting married now, how could she have
been a “real” housewife on the last show? Just curious…. 

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-ListPremieres Tuesday, June 15, 9pm

Love her or hate her, she’s back! The sixth (!) season of this show
finds our comic heroine losing out on a Creative Arts Emmy (during an
awards ceremony she was hosting. I wonder if she handled it with as
much class as Neil Patrick Harris did when he lost
out on the real Emmys. I’m thinking not.) This season also features
Griffin embarking on an Alaskan adventure with amateur semi-nude Playgirl model and professional scumbag Levi Johnston,
judging a toddler beauty pageant and taking part in a march on
Washington for gay rights (this is the only reason I can’t not like
this woman.) In keeping with her “gay-positive” theme, Kathy also hangs
with A-list guests (and gay icons) like Kristen Chenoweth and Liza Minnelli. (Hey, if we can get Betty White on SNL, we so need to get Liza on Glee. Who’s with me?)

Double ExposurePremieres Tuesday, June 15, 10pm

When celebrities actually want to get their pictures taken, they contact Markus Klinko and Indrani. These high-fashion celebrity photographers have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including David Bowie, Kate Winslet and Beyoncé,
and their work can be seen in magazines all over the world. This
“docu-series” goes behind the scenes and gives viewers access to what
actually goes into a celebrity photo session. Apparently, it’s rather
stressful – what with maintaining budgets, location scouting, meeting
deadlines and, most importantly wrangling superstar-sized egos (we’re
promised guests such as Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan,
which increased my interest in this show 100%.) Markus and former model
Indrani are not only professional partners; they had an 8-year-long
romantic relationship, so the tension/drama potential is even greater!
This show sure sounds promising, but, truth be told, I’d actually love
to watch a series set in the Glamour Shots in my mall. They could call
it Boas and Cowboy Hats. Make it so, Bravo!

Top ChefPremieres Wednesday, June 16, 9pm

After the next Top Chef Master is crowned (and it better be Rick Moonen!),
the original is back for its seventh season. This time the 17
cheftestants put their culinary skills to the test in our nation’s
capital, Washington D.C, which is allegedly home to a thriving gourmet
restaurant scene. All I’ve ever associated with DC is Capital Grille,
but I’m sure our representatives have to have some hoity-toity
restaurants where they can further squander our tax dollars. Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi are back along with judges Gail “I’m just here for the wine” Simmons. For you Toby Young fans (all two of you), there’s a bit of sad news. The snippy Brit has been replaced by famed chef Eric Ripert
on the judges’ table – which ought to make things interesting. The
guests this time around aren’t as much fun (and/or vegan) as the ones
we’ve seen in previous seasons, unless you love politicians and their
ilk. In addition to House speaker Nancy Pelosi and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, the most well-known name is Buzz Aldrin (still aggressively campaigning to be America’s second most beloved senior citizen – behind Betty White, of course.)

In addition to the change of locale, Dial Nutriskin has replaced the
fine Gladware family of products as the main sponsor of the show. Not
sure how they’re going to work the product placement of a body
wash into the episodes, but from my initial peep at the cheftestants
I’m hoping this won’t involve some sort of group shower thing.

As for our competitors, I haven’t read any press on this season, but
I’m sure Tom has already said somewhere that this is the best set of
cheftestants they’ve ever had on the show. And, judging from their bios,
they do appear to be a promising bunch. It seems that it’s now a
requirement that each season, one Top Chef contestant has to look like
Natalie from “Facts of Life” – and that distinction goes to
Atlanta-based chef Tracey Bloom. She’s my early favorite because for
her last meal on earth, she’d like to make turkey sandwiches with
Stevie Nicks…but who wouldn’t? Among our other competitors are a
sassy Texan who started her culinary career manning the grill at an
IHOP, a middle-aged, dreadlocked engineer-turned-chef who has been
recognized as “one of the best chefs in the greater Detroit area”, and
a no-nonsense chef who, at 23 years of age, became the youngest
African-American chef ever to run a Ritz-Carlton Hotel restaurant. One
disturbing trend with this season’s chefs is that an awful lot of them
love peas. (Bleah!) I’m wondering what the themes will be for the
challenges this season. Could we expect donkey and elephant on the
menu? Or we could just keep things topical and have the “BP
Challenge”…two words…seafood and oil. (Too soon?)Mmmm…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!