Lifetime has big plans for Little Women: LA. The reality show, which documents the lives of a group of outgoing women who happen to be little, may now expand to other cities.
Insiders confirm that the network recently looked into casting in New York, Atlanta and Miami for potential future editions. (It's no surprise, given that the network and producers added "LA" to the original's title, giving the implication that other cities would follow.)
Lifetime hasn't confirmed its plans. But the success of the show, which comes from producer Kinetic Content (The Taste), already has execs thinking this could be Lifetime's equivalent of the Real Housewives franchise, which has proven to be a huge brand for Bravo.
"This show was a wonderful experience," says Eli Lehrer, Lifetime's senior vice president and head of nonfiction development. "We fell in love with these women and the uniqueness of their experience. We'd be foolish if we didn't see if there were more stories to tell."
Little Women: LA, which has been renewed for Season 2, ended its first season on July 22 with an event the network billed as "one of the first-ever televised little people nuptials." That finale averaged 1.7 million viewers with three days of DVR usage included. Little Women: LA also grew its audience throughout its run, jumping 47 percent with total viewers and 60 percent with viewers age 18-49 from premiere to finale.
"When we first started talking about the show, some feared that it could be exploitative," Lehrer says. "But when others saw it, they saw that it was a respectful, nuanced look at these women. There was some conflict on the show, but it was much more than just about petty bickering." He says the cast (Terra Jole, Tonya Banks, Elena Gant, Christy McGinity, Briana Manson and Traci Harrison) were already friends before the show launched, allowing for "long-running histories and a depth and complexity" among them.
Lehrer points to an episode where the women had a conversation about how they might approach childbirth. "Some of my favorite moments were when the women got together and talked about their shared experiences," he says. "That is the show at its best."
Little Women: LA is part of an extensive unscripted series push at Lifetime, which has also recently launched hits like Bring It and Preachers' Daughters, in addition to popular staples Project Runway and Dance Moms. "It's been a priority to grow our unscripted series and become a major player in the space," says Lehrer. "We doubled our volume from 2013 to 2014, and I expect for it to stay at that level in the coming year. That makes for an exciting time for our department."
Next up: Born in the Wild, about women who give birth outdoors; Girlfriend Intervention, featuring four African-American stylists who give a white woman a makeover; Kosher Soul, featuring hip-hop tastemaker O'Neal McKnight and his fiancée, celebrity stylist Miriam Sternoff; and Threads, a reality competition featuring teen and tween fashion designers. One show you won't see: The Texas mortuary-set docuseries Good Grief, which had to be scrapped after its owners were charged with corpse abuse.