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The Beautiful Life: TBL (also known as The Beautiful Life) is an American television drama series, which ran on The CW from September 16, 2009 to September 23, 2009. The series starred Mischa Barton, Elle Macpherson, Sara Paxton and Corbin Bleu. It revolved around a group of male and female models sharing a residence in New York City.[1] Mike Kelley (Swingtown) served as the showrunner for the series, based on the script by former model-turned-writer Adam Giaudrone, and Ashton Kutcher was the executive producer.[2] The CW ordered 13 episodes for the first season.

On September 25, 2009, The Beautiful Life: TBL was canceled after two episodes due to low ratings.[3] Six full episodes were produced, while the cancellation came during the filming of the seventh episode.[4] On November 17, 2009, The New York Daily News reported that the CW planned to air the remaining episodes during the summer months. However, a CW spokesperson stated that "the status of unaired episodes has yet to be determined.[5]

The first two and remaining episodes are now airing on YouTube, Kutcher spoke on the development "What we feel like we're doing is creating, in some ways, an industry first.... A show that couldn't find its legs on television, we believe can find its legs on the Web."[6] The five episodes being aired online are sponsored by HP.[7]

Cast and characters[]



  • Sara Paxton as Raina Marinelli - An aspiring model, who instantly rises to fame
  • Ben Hollingsworth as Chris Andrews - A newly appointed model, who is new to the fashion world.
  • Mischa Barton as Sonja Stone - A supermodel, who has returned to the fashion scene after a mysterious disappearance
  • Corbin Bleu as Isaac Taylor - A once child model
  • Nico Tortorella as Cole Shepherd - A rising underwear model
  • Ashley Madekwe as Marissa Delfina - A socialite and gossiping model
  • Elle Macpherson as Claudia Foster - The owner of the Fashion Agency and a mother figure to the models


Jaime Murray was cast to play powerful wardrobe stylist and resident cougar who has her eyes on Isaac (Corbin Bleu).[8] Ed Quinn signed on to play the husband of Claudia Foster (Elle Macpherson).[9] Former Miss Israel Gal Gadot was cast to play Olivia, a Gisele Bundchen type supermodel at the top of her game.[10] Billy Magnussen was to have had a multiple episode arc as Alex who is Raina's brother which will offer clues on Raina's past.[11]

Guest stars[]

Marie Claire fashion director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia had a small cameo in the second episode. Designers Matthew Williamson and Erin Fetherston were also set to guest star along side model Jessica Stam.[12] Model Irina Lazareanu made an appearance in the pilot as did So You Think You Can Dance Canada season 1 winner, Nico Archambault and model Boyd Holbrook. Claire Unabia and Mila Bouzinova from Cycle 10 and Cycle 9 respectively made a special appearance at the Nina Garcia's party in episode 2. Magician David Copperfield was set to make a guest appearance in episode 8. At the time of the show's cancellation, negotiations were close to completion for a guest appearance by supermodel Claudia Schiffer in a cameo role.

Production notes[]

The show was largely filmed on location in New York City. Studio interiors were filmed at Kaufman Astoria Studios, Queens, New York.

In order to give the show an authentic look and feel, the show's producers negotiated a number of product placement deals and other agreements with various designers and fashion houses. This allowed the costume department to secure the loan of a wide range of genuine designer outfits and accessories for the cast to wear.

Prior to the start of production, as part of her preparations for the role of Sonja Stone, Mischa Barton had her ears pierced for the very first time. This was required in order to comply with one of the product placement deals that the producers of the show had negotiated with various high-end fashion designers. One of the terms of this deal was that Barton's character would wear the designer's earrings and, as most of the earrings were made for pierced ears and couldn't be converted to clip-ons, Barton had to have her ears pierced especially in order to wear them.[13][14]

David Copperfield's cameo appearance in the show was centered around a storyline where Raina Marinelli and Sonja Stone are booked to participate in his stage show as special guest assistants, taking part in various illusions. One of these was to have been a brand-new and never-before-seen boxless version of Sawing a Woman in Half performed on Sonja. This was an adaption of the Impossible Sawing with the wide silver bands over the assistant's waist replaced by a thin wooden frame similar to that used in the Bow Saw.[15] Due to scheduling conflicts, Copperfield filmed his scenes for the show in advance of the rest of the filming for that episode. Although the episode was never completed, pictures of him performing the new sawing on Mischa Barton during the filming did appear in a popular magic magazine.[16]


The Beautiful Life was heavily promoted through the cast's and producer's Twitter with promotional photos of Sara Paxton, Corbin Bleu, and Ashley Madekwe appearing semi naked with the tag line "What are you looking at?".[17] The Beautiful Life was heavily promoted during New York Fashion Week and through New York magazine. In a very targeted mailing, 4,000 high profile contacts in the fashion and media worlds got a polybagged edition of New York magazine featuring those semi naked shots of the cast and then, during Fashion Week, copies of New York featuring an ad spread and the naughty nudes were handed out in the show tents. The show also received some unplanned publicity due to Mischa Barton's medical issues in the weeks leading up to the start of production.[18]

Reception and cancellation[]

The series premiere did poorly with 1.38 million viewers, and a 0.6/2 in Adults 18-49, 0.8/2 in Adults 18-34, and 1.1/3 in Women 18-34. The second episode also drew in low numbers, with a 0.6/2 rating with adults 18-49, with only 1.1 million viewers.[19] The show was officially cancelled on September 25, 2009 due to the poor reception.[20]

International airings[]

The show was originally announced as being part of the Autumn schedule of Ireland's TV3, but the show was later moved to TV3's second station 3e. Since the cancellation of the show in the US, TV3 dropped the show from its lineup. It is unknown if any episodes will now air in Ireland.

After the cancellation, Channel 10 in Australia announced it would not air the show at all.

Prior to the show's cancellation, it was announced that it would be shown in the UK by Channel 4. Following the show's cancellation, it is unknown if any of the completed episodes will be shown in the UK.


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Title Directed by Written by Original airdate Viewers*
  • *American viewers are listed in millions.

Episodes online[]

File:Watch header.jpg

Youtube's logo for the series

On December 17, 2009, executive producer Ashton Kutcher reported on The Beautiful Life's official Youtube channel that because of the cancellation, the remaining episodes will be released online. If the episodes gain more hits online, more new episodes may be produced exclusively for the Web. The first three episodes were released online, with the last two premiering Monday, December 21, 2009.[21] Thanks to a sponsorship deal with Hewlett Packard, the five first episodes are available. Kutcher is hoping that the high production quality of the show will increase its audience size on YouTube, which will in turn lure sponsors to finance more episodes.[22] The official YouTube channel also includes a number of short videos featuring the main cast members talking about the "beautiful changes" they have planned for 2010, plus a number of other videos connected with the show.


  1. "Mischa Barton Opts for 'A Beautiful Life'". Reuters (from The Hollywood Reporter). March 13, 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/televisionNews/idUSTRE52C0O020090313. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  2. Rao, Priya (2009-07-28). "Material Girls: The Stars of 'The Beautiful Life'". wwd.com. http://www.wwd.com/fashion-news/material-girls-the-stars-of-the-beautiful-life-2223831//?full=true. Retrieved 08 December 2009. 
  3. Rice, Lynette (2009-09-25). "CW cancels Mischa Barton starrer 'The Beautiful Life'". ew.com. http://news-briefs.ew.com/2009/09/25/cw-cancels-mischa-barton-starrer-the-beautiful-life/. Retrieved 08 December 2009. 
  4. CW Cancels "The Beautiful Life", Hollywood Reporter, September 25, 2009
  5. Sidman, Amanda (2009-11-17). "CW mulls resurrecting Mischa Barton's 'The Beautiful Life;' unaired episodes to run this summer". nydailynews.com. http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/11/17/2009-11-17_cw_mulls_resurrecting_mischa_bartons_the_beautiful_life_unaired_episodes_to_run_.html#ixzz0Z8ek98KD. Retrieved 08 December 2009. 
  6. Mischa Returns to the (Very) Small Screen New York Observer. 17 December 2009
  7. HP To Sponsor 'Beautiful Life' On YouTube Media Post. 19 December 2009
  8. Godwin, Jennifer (2009-08-17). "Dexter Diva Joins The Beautiful Life". au.eonline.com. http://au.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/b139703_dexter_diva_joins_beautiful_life.html. 
  9. Godwin, Jennifer (2009-08-25). "True Blood Star Joins CW's The Beautiful Life". au.eonline.com. http://au.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/b141202_true_blood_star_joins_cws_beautiful_life.html. 
  10. "ABC, CW freshmen add cast". hollywoodreporter.com. http://login.vnuemedia.com/hr/login/login_subscribe.jsp?id=2yhGvwhFqFOuSWgH4dp1cRSAfk85Lz2UQkfrKVUJw%2B%2BiRQvW0zAsnhxxMq9ZUFVr8nqIpvJdfZ6n%0A5lBxgQLqQLm0xacu5n7kxu5sYu6N0JKzMeZXG0S6gqXuUru3%2FYU%2BeUvOoPD77ayFUCxPRZJzeLcp%0AT3IxhC5AraOANq3iTrk5PNG130PsiMN1kt87iRlb6LOqdJlJx3Oz7t7ugXG1KLjr9pHss9AR3cIh%0AEwDZNVqqKIy0SBOjqBxOd5%2FGUSSTGeUTMsTZdyg9MoEo4V4Qlak5ykevGXtVX51NQKNwVFecFZwV%0ABsgv%2B6fmUHGBAupAubTFpy7mfuTG7mxi7o3Qkufq3iiUd29i. 
  11. O'Connor, Mickey; Bryant, Adam (2009-08-25). "Mega Buzz: Scoop on House, Numbers, 24, and More!". tvguide.com. http://www.tvguide.com/News/MegaBuzz-House-24-1009174.aspx. 
  12. Abrams, Natalie (2009-08-19). "Mischa Barton Dabbles With Drugs in The Beautiful Life". au.eonline.com. http://au.eonline.com/uberblog/watch_with_kristin/b140255_mischa_barton_dabbles_with_drugs_in.html. 
  13. "Mischa Barton, January 2010". flickr.com. https://www.flickr.com/photos/22598544@N04/4289709521/. Retrieved 30 May 2018. 
  14. Mischa's Looking Forward to a Beautiful Life, Fabulous magazine. 6 September 2009.
  15. Bryant, S. "David Copperfield To Debut New Boxless Sawing In Half On Fashion Industry TV Drama". Genii magazine, August 2009, (Vol 72, No 8.).
  16. Farmer, R., "David Copperfield Performs New Sawing In Half On Mischa Barton For TV Drama", Magic magazine, Vol.18 No.12 (August 2009).
  17. Daniels, Karu F. (2009-09-28). "The CW: Canceling 'The Beautiful Life' After Only Two Weeks". bvnewswire.com. http://www.bvnewswire.com/2009/09/28/the-cw-canceling-the-beautiful-life-after-only-two-weeks/. Retrieved 08 December 2009. 
  18. Mischa Barton released from hospital, Daily Telegraph, 28 July 2009.
  19. "Two and out For The CW's Beautiful Life". thefutoncritic.com. 2009-09-25. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=8309. 
  20. "The CW Cancels Mischa Barton's 'Beautiful Life' After TWO Episodes". huffingtonpost.com. 2009-09-25. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/25/the-cw-cancels-beautiful-_n_300674.html. Retrieved 08 December 2009. 
  21. http://www.tvovermind.com/tv-news/ashton-kutcher-gets-a-second-chance-at-life/15800
  22. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2009/12/17/2009-12-17_beautiful_life_.html

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