|Launched||December 1, 1980|
|Owned by||NBC Universal|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Headquarters||Rockefeller Center, New York City, U.S.|
|DirecTV||Channel 273 (SD/HD)|
|Dish Network||Channel 129 (SD)
|Available on many cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 185 (SD)
Bravo is an American cable television channel owned by NBC Universal. It is currently seen in more than 80 million homes and was the first service dedicated to film, drama, and the performing arts when it was launched by Cablevision as an advertisement-free channel in December 1980. In the early 2000s it switched from covering performing arts, drama, and indie film to being focused on pop culture like reality shows, fashion shows, makeovers, celebrities, and so forth. Bravo's programming schedule includes feature films, primarily from the Universal catalogue. Bravo also airs reruns of series from parent network NBC, and produces original reality content, most popularly The Real Housewives of..., Inside the Actors Studio, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Queer Eye, Top Chef and Flipping Out.
Bravo TV was originally a service of Cablevision's Rainbow Media. Between 1999 and 2001, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had a 20% stake in the channel (in addition to fellow Rainbow channels AMC and Romance Classics). In 2001, a stake of Bravo was acquired by NBC; the company bought the entire channel for $1.25B in 2002. Parent company General Electric's merged NBC with Vivendi Universal Entertainment in May 2004, and Bravo's corporate offices are at NBC's Rockefeller Center in New York. Other cable channels owned by NBC Universal include CNBC, MSNBC, mun2, Syfy, ShopNBC, Telemundo, Sleuth TV, Chiller, Universal HD and USA Network, as well as some partial ownership of international cable channels such as CNBC World, CNBC Europe, and CNBC Asia.
Bravo has strong recognition among the young and among gay viewers in the United States. A study released in May 2008 ranked Bravo as the most recognizable brand among gay consumers. Bravo's age demographic is people 18-54, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's cable television profiles.
According to Nielsen Ratings Data, Bravo is currently available in more than 92 million homes.
Bravo gives substantial advertising to both their original and off-network programming. Heavily promoted original content includes Inside the Actors Studio, Project Runway, Top Chef, and Celebrity Poker Showdown. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which Bravo now produces in-house, was once an example of the off-network shows aired by Bravo, such as The West Wing.
Bravo's "makeover" came in 2003 with reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which hit 3.5 million viewers. Entertainment Weekly put "Bravo reality shows" on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "From Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Fab Five to Project Runway's fierce fashionistas to the kvetching, perma-tanned Real Housewives, Brave's quirky reality programming mixes high culture and low scruples to create deliciously addictive television."
Bravo utilizes block programming for both new shows and successful existing ones. Bravo has also had great success with programming franchises. These include: 100 Greatest... TV and film retrospectives, based upon the concept of AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies; Project Greenlight and Project Runway; Showbiz Moms & Dads and Showdog Moms & Dads; and Party/Party and a handful of successful gay-themed dating and reality shows (e.g., Queer Eye and Workout, which features a lesbian lead).
In 2004 and 2006, Bravo carried coverage of the Olympic Games during the overnights and mornings produced by NBC. In 2008, the channel carried no coverage, as NBC Universal had acquired Oxygen, allowing Bravo to continue to carry their general programming schedule during NBC coverage of the Games.
In mid-April 2009 Bravo revealed new shows which will be premiering in the later months and returning programs. New series include:
The channel also unveiled several series in development including docuseries about florist to the stars Eric Buterbaugh and fashion designer Laura Bennett; Secret Life of Supermodels; Jackie's Gym Takeover, which features Jackie Warner as a fitness club savior in the spirit of Tabatha's Salon Takeover; and Social Heights, about New York City high society.
Previously announced series pick-ups include Chef Academy, chronicling chef Jean-Christophe Novelli's move to Los Angeles as he opens a cooking school, and Double Exposure, which follows fashion and celebrity photographers Markus and Indrani and fashion stylist GK Reid.
The channel will continue to mine product placement and licensing opportunities, selling Kooba handbags carried by the teenagers featured in NYC Prep and winning designs from The Fashion Show (the Project Runway replacement) on its web site.
Both series adhere to Bravo's core unscripted programming brand of food, fashion, beauty, design and pop culture. Blueprint is a dramedy about best friends - one straight, one gay - who run a hot New York design and architecture firm. Laurence Andries (Six Feet Under) and Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy are executive producers.
30 Under 30 - also set in New York - follows several young list makers, including a chef, an artist, a real estate agent and a gossip blogger (which has supplanted gossip newspaper columnist). It's from executive producers Jonathan Prince, (who produced former NBC series Cane and American Dreams as well as A&E's The Cleaner) and Alana Sanko.
Two food shows, Around the World in 80 Plates and Commander in Chef, are in development for sometime in 2010. 
Bravo HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of Bravo. It launched on October 3, 2007, and DirecTV was the first provider to add it. It is also available on Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, AT&T UVerse and some Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse Networks systems.
This is the second version of Bravo HD; the current Universal HD launched as Bravo HD+ in August 2003. Bravo HD+ had a completely different schedule than the regular Bravo and aired only HD programs. The current Bravo HD airs programs in both high definition and standard definition.
A Canadian channel called Bravo! (with the exclamation mark) launched in 1995 by CHUM Limited, and is currently owned by CTVglobemedia. It uses the Bravo trademark under license from NBC, and initially both channels shared a focus on the performing arts. However, since the American channel's format shift in the early 2000s, there has been essentially no connection between the two channels, aside from the name and the interview series Inside the Actors Studio.
As the terms of the Canadian channel's license require it to maintain a focus on the performing arts, much of the U.S. channel's current original reality TV series cannot fit within the Canadian service's schedule. Most of these series were instead picked up by the Canwest slate of specialty channels, including Slice, Food Network, and HGTV, with some shows airing on other channels owned by CTVglobemedia or third parties.