Coming Soon: “Portrait Artist,” “Barney Frank”

In this week's round-up, new unscripted titles are set to air on networks including Showtime, TLC and Ovation TV. (Pictured: Portrait Artist of the Year)
September 24, 2015

In this week’s round-up, new unscripted titles are set to air on a range of networks, including Showtime, TLC and Ovation TV.

American arts net Ovation TV is readying Portrait Artist of the Year (pictured) for its October 18 premiere.

Hosted by UK TV personalities Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner, the 8 x 60-minute competition series will travel across Europe in search of the art world’s latest star. Each episode features a regional art battle in which a portrait of one of three famous sitters is produced. Judges will then select an artist to advance to the semi-final where their work will be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The winner will receive a £10,000 (US$15,244) commission to paint a portrait that will become a permanent fixture at the British Library.

Artists from across the UK and Ireland will create portraits of such celebrities and authors as Hilary Mantel, John Hannah, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Julian Fellowes, Alan Cumming and Sir Ian McKellen. Produced by Storyvault Films for Sky Arts, Portrait Artist of the Year will air two seasons starting October 18 at 12 p.m. (noon) EST/PST on Ovation TV.

Elsewhere, American cable network Showtime will broadcast the behind-the-scenes documentary of U.S. politician Barney Frank on October 23 at 9 p.m. EST/PST.

Directed by Sheila Canavan, Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank will weave 40 years of rare and archive footage with exclusive interviews to examine the public and private life of the outspoken Massachusetts politician. The film will follow Frank – who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 2013 – as he prepares for retirement while becoming the first member of Congress to enter into a same-sex marriage with his partner, Jim Ready.

Discovery Communications-owned net TLC, meanwhile, is set to launch the High Noon Entertainment-produced celebratory series Sweet 15: Quinceañera.

The 8 x 60-minute series will focus on Miami-based Quinceañera party experts and cousins Alexis and Jarling as they look to commemorate the Latin traditional rite of passage into womanhood. The dress shop owners will work alongside clients to create memorable events that feature various eccentric bikini photo shoots and themes that include “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Winter Wonderland.” Sweet 15: Quinceañera will broadcast on November 3 at 10 p.m. EST/PST on TLC.

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