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FX ORDERS SERIES FROM AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER MORGAN SPURLOCK

"30 Days" Six-Episode Order for Documentary-Style, Unscripted Series Adaptation Of Spurlock's Critically Acclaimed Film Super Size Me

LOS ANGELES, November 30, 2004 - FX has placed a six-episode order for 30 Days, a documentary-style, unscripted series from award-winning filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and Ben Silverman's Reveille, announced FX President of Entertainment John Landgraf.

30 Days adapts for television the concept of Spurlock's critically-acclaimed film Super Size Me, a comedic yet dramatic chronicle of the American obesity epidemic through his experience eating every meal at McDonald's for 30 days and the grueling physical and emotional effects of that diet.

30 Days will place an individual in a living environment that is antithetical to their upbringing, beliefs, religion or profession. Topics for the six episodes will deal with social and behavioral differences in America ranging from ethnic to religious to economic. Spurlock, who created the concept, will host and narrate the series, while serving as executive producer along with Silverman. Borderline and Reveille SVP Howard Owens executive produced the pilot.

"When I got to FX and began to think about unscripted series with alternative VP Eric Schrier, we saw an opportunity to put a show on the air with a different set of stakes and a different tone than the emerging cliches of the genre," said Landgraf. "Then Ben and Morgan brought us 30 Days and we knew this was the show we'd been looking for. It has been a great challenge and a great pleasure to examine Christian/ Muslim relations with these gutsy, talented producers through the pilot process, and we're glad to be able to bite off many more challenges in the coming series."

The pilot of 30 Days revolves around a Christian insurance salesman from Spurlock's home state of West Virginia living with a Muslim family in Dearborn, Mich., home of the nation's largest Islamic community. FX originally ordered the pilot episode in March.

Spurlock won the directing award in the documentary film category at this year's Sundance Film Festival for Super Size Me. He wrote, directed and starred in the film, which was produced by his New York-based company The Con. The film was also just named to the short list for the 2005 Academy Awards.

"Super Size Me dealt with a serious issue in an entertaining way and I wanted to translate that to television by creating a show that would engage a viewer, make them laugh and make them think," said Spurlock. "30 Days is going to do just that. Since the show's inception, I never imagined it being anywhere but on FX. They were the first network we met with and they are really pushing the boundaries of television and that's what I want this show to do."

Silverman added, "Morgan Spurlock has demonstrated a unique ability to both entertain and challenge the audience. The 30 Days pilot lives up to the high bar set in Super Size Me as it deals with one of the most challenging issues in American life in a real and thought provoking way. FX and its entertainment president, John Landgraf, embraced this unique point of view and pushed us to do better work: they are the perfect network to bring 30 Days to life."

The Con is a New York-based production company that develops original programming for both film and television. They were the first production entity ever to springboard a show from the web to television with the highly successful worldwide MTV strip I Bet You Will which has been broadcast in more than 25 countries worldwide. Super Size Me, the company's first feature film, was released theatrically in May and was distributed by Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films. The Con is currently developing a diverse mix of original feature film projects, scripted television series and reality programs.

REVEILLE, a joint venture between Ben Silverman and NBC Universal Television Studios, develops, produces and distributes new and non-traditional programming formats for television and motion pictures across a variety of genres, including comedy, drama, game, and reality for American and international markets. The company is currently in production on the second seasons of its NBC reality hit The Biggest Loser and of the Bravo docusoap Blow Out, a third season of Nashville Star for USA Network, and the American version of the UK scripted hit The Office for NBC. Other Reveille programming includes The Restaurant for NBC, The Club on Spike, and Date My Mom on MTV. In addition, the company sells television formats for producers such as NBC Universal Television Studios (USA Network, Sci Fi Channel), BBC Worldwide, Renegade and Princess Productions, as well as its own produced program formats such as The Restaurant (NBC), Blow Out (Bravo) and 30 Days (FX). Reveille also distributed the internationally renowned, award-winning 9/11 documentary and is a world leader in creating integrated marketing opportunities for leading advertisers and developing alternative financing paradigms, and selling and distributing television formats in markets worldwide. FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 85 million homes. The diverse schedule includes a growing roster of distinctive original series and movies; an impressive roster of acquired hit series; an established film library with box-office hits from 20th Century Fox; and NASCAR. For more information about FX, visit our web site at www.FXnetworks.com.

Casting calls (primarily for gay males) are on this site

http://www.realitytvlinks.com/articles/cc011905-2.html

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PAX TV's 'Cold Turkey II' reality series sequel to premiere April 19

PAX TV has announced that Cold Turkey II, the sequel to its Fall 2004 Cold Turkey reality series, will premiere Tuesday, April 19 at 9PM ET/PT.

Originally scheduled to premiere March 15 until PAX made a last-minute decision to postpone its debut, Cold Turkey II will feature ten new unsuspecting participants who will attempt to quit smoking while living in a smoke-free San Diego mansion.

Once again hosted by A.J. Benza, Cold Turkey II will begin with a Joe Schmo-like con in which the ten contestants believe they have joined the cast of the new reality adventure show called Pushing the Limits.

After being dropped in the middle of the Grand Canyon the participants will be greeted by former For Love Or Money host Jordan Murphy. Pretending to be the host of the fictional Pushing the Limits, Murphy will convince the participants that everything they are about to experience is real. Assisted by two undercover actors masquarading as non-smoking contestants, Murphy will lead the cast through three days of challenges and eliminations that while appearing to be legitimate activities of Pushing the Limits, are actually designed to secretly test the smokers' lungs.

Once the three days have passed, Cold Turkey host Benza will arrive and break the truth to the contestants -- that Murphy is bogus, that the challenges were all fake, and that the eliminations were all phony. Having learned the truth, the show's ten real contestants will then have to decide if they want to lose their cigarettes and participate in the real reality show -- the second edition of PAX TV's Cold Turkey.

The ten contestants appearing in the second season of Cold Turkey are:

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Do You Want to be on a Reality Show? TBS, FOX, and NBC are casting for the following shows:

TBS is casting neighbors who hate each other to apply for a show called Loser Leaves Town; as the title suggests, the losing family will actually move. The best part: "Both families are guaranteed $100,000 minimum for participating:

LOSERS LEAVE TOWN

How well do you and your neighbors get along?

Do their obnoxious dogs and blaring music drive you nuts?

Could you open a sporting goods store with all the balls that have landed in your yard?

Have those friendly competitions over yard work and backyard barbeques gotten a little out of hand?

If your family has what it takes to compete in 6 episodes of a primetime comedy series then we want to hear from you!

Both families are guaranteed $100,000 minimum for participating!

Apply today!

All submissions will be accepted up until May 1, 2005.

Please complete the APPLICATION and send it to us using one of the following methods:

TO APPLY VIA E-MAIL: Save the above completed application and e-mail it to us at

casting@ltnshow.com.

You MUST attach photos of you, your family and your house to the e-mail (.jpg or .gif files).

TO APPLY BY MAIL: Print the above completed application and send it with your photos to:

Loser Leaves Town Applications

Sunset Gower Studios

1438 N. Gower

Bldg 35, Box 10

Hollywood, CA 90028

You may include a 3-minute VHS tape telling us about the feud with your neighbors and why you should be considered for the show. All family members must appear on camera. (Tapes are optional but not required for consideration at this time)

In order to apply you must:

1. Be 18 years or older

2. Own or rent a house (NOT a townhouse, condo or apartment)

3. Be willing to relocate (at our expense)

Please note: any photos or video tapes you mail to us will not be returned.

For more information, please call (800) 605-5062.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Want to be a CONTESTANT on an NBC SHOW? Check it out here!

Treasure Hunters * Below

Three Wishes

Fear Factor

America's Busiest Families

The Biggest Loser

Made in the USA

Extreme Reunion

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

********

TREASURE HUNTERS

ARE YOU READY FOR THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME?

NBC is currently seeking unique groups of three to compete for thrills and riches in television

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The following is a press release announcing the suicide of a cast member from the new reality show, 'Vegas Elvis'. What is it about these reality shows> First The Contender, now 'Vegas".

Heartbreak Hits 'Vegas Elvis' Reality Show

Cast Member Commits Suicide

LAS VEGAS, April 11 /PRNewswire/ -- A new reality show based on the life

of Las Vegas Elvis Impersonator, Jesse Garon, entitled, "Vegas Elvis", became

the second reality program in less than two months to suffer a cast member

suicide. One of the show's supporting cast members and producer, Melanie

Bell, 36, became the third person and first woman to jump to her death from

the outdoor observation tower of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas on Friday,

March 25, 2005.

This news comes on the heels of another reality show tragedy that was

recently suffered by NBC and its highly rated show, "The Contender." Unlike

Najai Turpin of "The Contender", Bell's family and friends knew she suffered

from severe depression which stemmed from her battle with Anorexia. She was

recently released from an undisclosed eating disorder clinic in Alabama where

she had successfully gained almost forty pounds in less than six months. Bell

worked as a producer on "Vegas Elvis", a new first-of-its-kind experimental

reality show that features the film crew as part of the featured cast, which

is lead by Jesse Garon, known as "The Official Elvis of Las Vegas".

"Melanie was a beautiful person and now to me the Stratosphere will always

be a Heart Break Hotel," said Garon.

Bell was often seen interviewing cast members and working out the day to

day logistics of the show which had just finished filming the first four

episodes the day before she took her own life.

"Melanie was a good friend and co-worker for many years and will be dearly

missed," said Christopher Dreyer, creator of "Vegas Elvis." "Our heartfelt

sympathy goes out to her family who should know that she was deeply loved by

her fellow cast and crew in Las Vegas. It will take some time to heal from

this tremendous heartache but I know Melanie would agree the show must go on."

"Vegas Elvis", co-produced by Elvis Entertainment International and Los

Angeles-based production company, The Dream Factory, intends to dedicate the

reality show to Bell while also paying tribute to her in a later episode that

correlates to the timeline of her tragic death.

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  • 3 weeks later...

--From Andy Dehnert

Past reality TV show cast members can earn $500 to $30,000 per appearance.

There's a reason we call them reality whores: former cast members make a ton of cash. The New York Times discusses the "strange celebrity netherworld" that some former cast members live in, and in the process reveals a number of fascinating pieces of information about how much money they make. Highlights:

Road Rules Campus Crawl star Rachel Robinson said she "has been doing about 10 appearances a month for the past three years, speaking mostly at colleges about sexual and ethnic diversity," and for these has received "$2,000 to $3,000 a gig," the paper reports. Doing a little rough math, even at just $2K, that's $20,000 a month and $240,000 a year -- and that's $720,000 over three years. She's 22.

Jonny "Fairplay said he earned $95,000 for" his third-place finish on Survivor Pearl Islands. He also had "club gigs that he did nearly every weekend for a year at $7,500 a shot."

Darva Conger received $35,000 for appearing on Celebrity Boxing II.

Former reality show cast members earn "fees of $500 to $30,000 for appearing at shopping centers, nightclubs, resorts, colleges or corporate conferences."

The NYT's Damian Cave reports that original Bachelor loser Alex Michel "said he would only be interviewed if he was identified as a spokesman for Match.com. (Then he canceled because of 'work responsibilities.')"

Toni Ferrrari "has been called in to provide commentary on Fox Reality for rebroadcasts of Love Cruise. (But what about Paradise Hotel?) Also, Toni "has been laughed out of auditions and asked to leave several improvisational acting classes by fellow students who accused her of being a sellout."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bravo and Hearst to Produce The Daily News Reality TV Show

Bravo has inked a deal with Hearst Entertainment, Inc. to produce six, one-hour episodes of the first documentary series set in the newsroom of one of the world's largest newspapers, it was announced today by Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo, and Bruce Paisner, president of Hearst Entertainment. The series is scheduled to premiere on Bravo in 2006.

"The Daily News" (working title) follows the editorial staff of the New York Daily News and provides a behind-the-scenes perspective of a working newsroom at one of the largest newspapers in the U.S. Filmed with the intimacy of a documentary, with total and complete access, but structured and edited like a traditional dramatic series, "The Daily News" presents a handful of key editors and reporters as they cope with deadlines and the competition and pressures associated with journalism at a big-city tabloid. Each episode of "The Daily News" follows four to five characters as they track and pursue New York City's most exciting stories. Against the backdrop of a vicious tabloid war with a competing paper and the unrelenting deadlines that are a part of their world, each character will battle for stories while trying to keep a handle on their personal lives.

"Bravo continues to find new opportunities to redefine arts and culture, demonstrating the creative process across all areas of pop culture," said Zalaznick. "This series provides a unique and unexpected perspective into the working lives of editors and journalists. We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Hearst Entertainment in this unprecedented series which will provide a true 'fly on the wall' look at the inner workings of a leading daily newspaper."

"Hearst Entertainment is excited to be in partnership with two great media outlets on this project: the New York Daily News and Bravo," said Paisner. "Les Goodstein, Martin Dunn, Michael Cooke and their teams run one of the most exciting newspapers in America, and now Bravo viewers will witness this world firsthand. For Hearst Entertainment, this project represents an important step forward in its reality production business and will be followed by other cutting edge dramatic reality programs."

"The Daily News" will be produced by Hearst Entertainment Inc. in association with Bravo. Hearst Entertainment's, Jerry Shevick, executive vice president, and James Deutch, vice president, will be executive producers of the series.

About Hearst Entertainment Inc.

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Princess inspires Australian reality show

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SYDNEY, Australia (UPI) -- Tasmanian-born Princess Mary of Denmark has inspired Australian producers to create a reality royal makeover television show.

The as-yet-unnamed program has begun searching for 10 "diamonds in the rough" between the ages of 18 and 30 to be schooled in sophistication and society, in a process led by British Princess Diana`s former butler Paul Burrell, HelloMagazine.com reported Tuesday.

The idea for the show developed in April when Princess Mary, 33, announced she is expecting her first child and yet was still managing her busy schedule. Mary gave up her Australian citizenship and learned to speak Danish in order to marry Crown Prince Frederik.

"The chosen contestants will learn how to walk, talk and act like a real princess," said a statement from Granada Productions.

The winner will then be escorted to a gala ball in London by an as-yet undisclosed "Prince Charming."

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'Jeopardy!' champion Ken Jennings to host his own game show

[uPI)"Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings will host his own game show on Comedy Central.

The game show, set for late this year or early next year, is being developed by "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" mastermind Michael Davis, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Jennings has already starred in a number of commercials and launched his own game, "Can You Beat Ken?" in the wake of last year's 74 consecutive "Jeopardy" victories that brought him $2.5 million.

Jennings, however, placed third Monday night in the first round of a "Jeopardy!" showdown among past champions.

Brad Rutter won $18,400, Jerome Vered took $16,400 and Jennings won $16,000 in the three-round tournament that concludes Wednesday.

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'Situation Comedy' Debuts on Bravo

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Sean Hayes, (left) and Todd Milliner, (right), look over scripts for Bravo's

new reality show, 'Situation Comedy.'

BURBANK, California -- Emmy Award winner Sean Hayes (NBC's "Will & Grace") and producing partner Todd Milliner will premiere their new reality-competition series "Situation: Comedy" on Bravo with a two-hour debut on Tuesday, July 26 (8-10 p.m. ET/PT) featuring one-hour consecutive episodes at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Bravo's new series will allow viewers to go behind the scenes of national television as neophyte writers will earn the opportunity to produce and sell a sitcom - but the eavesdropping audience will give the final thumbs-up by choosing the winning entry that will be broadcast on Bravo.

"The death of the sitcom has received significant attention in the media, and it's no secret that viewers have now turned their interests to reality based programming," said Lauren Zalaznick, President, Bravo. "What 'Situation: Comedy' does is provide a sneak peek into the funny and not so funny moments and challenges behind making a sitcom pilot that will keep viewers laughing."

The producers of "Situation: Comedy" have scoured the country looking for the hottest undiscovered writing talent at colleges, in comedy theater groups and even writing classes. Each candidate submitted an original sitcom script. Producers have received over 10,000 scripts.

After producers and experienced show-runners Stan Zimmerman ("Gilmore Girls") and Maxine Lapiduss ("Roseanne") narrowed the field to five semi-finalists, the lucky five writers were flown to Los Angeles, where they were thrown into the deep end of the creative pitching pool.

They then submitted their ideas to NBC network executives who green-lighted two of the scripts to go into production as 15-minute presentations - shot by two very recognizable directors, Fred Savage ("The Wonder Years") and Amanda Bearse ("Married with Children").

The final two "wannabe" writers (or writing teams) were thrust immediately into the high-energy, high-stress world of television production. Viewers will be with them as they meet their staffs and find that they have to share many of their key staffers.

In addition, audiences will watch the entire process through casting, set design, rewrites, rehearsals, taping and post-production. In the end, they will see each completed presentation and can vote online for the sitcom they believe should get a shot for broadcast on television.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $25,000 and exclusive representation for one year with a major Hollywood talent agency to further help launch a successful writing career in film or television.

"Situation: Comedy" was developed by Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner. Multiple Emmy-winners Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner are executive producers together with Hayes and Milliner. "Situation: Comedy" is a HazyMills production in association with Shapiro/Grodner Productions.

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Guest ranster627

I am not sure about this one ... I like the talent involved ... but I think the concept is too convoluted ... thanks H8 ...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: ROUSH RIFF

Novice sitcom writers compete to have original scripts turned into 15-minute pilots in Bravo's Situation: Comedy (premieres July 26, 8 pm/ET). Coming across like a less absorbing Project Greenlight, Comedy is from Will & Grace's Sean Hayes, who will be a hero if the show delivers what NBC desperately needs: the seed for a watchable new comedy. The first episode is built around nervous pitches to network executives, who ought to be less smug about their recent track record. A future hour devoted to casting the final two scripts is more intriguing, if only because (as in Greenlight) we witness the perils of having a family member in the cast.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Ron Howard Spaces Out

by Josh Grossberg

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Imagine TV's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard

Forget that "Brat Camp." Ron Howard wants to send reality TV to Space Camp. After helming "Apollo 13" and the HBO miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon," the Oscar- and Emmy-winning director is one of the masterminds behind "X Quest," a new Fox reality series re-creating the orbital environment.

According to Daily Variety, the show will chronicle two teams of regular folks as they go through what's essentially Space Camp--training on sophisticated multimillion-dollar hardware used by NASA to train its astronauts and simulate what it feels like to be on a spacecraft.

Howard and his partner, Brian Grazer, will produce the project through their Imagine TV banner and will be aided by coproducer and 'Halo' creator Alex Seropian and his Spectrum MediaWorks, which will provide "X Quest" with the high-tech computer-generated know-how to simulate the space environment. "From a visual standpoint, this show will seem like a $150 million movie," Imagine TV president David Nevins tells Variety.

Hoping to boldly go where no reality series has gone before, producers say the would-be space travelers will never see camera crews in their controlled environment so as not to shatter the illusion that they're living in a bedroom-sized capsule. As Darnell explains: "They'll live, breathe, eat and sleep inside these biocrafts for about 30 days. And it's going to look to them and to the viewers like they're in space. At no time will we break through the fourth wall."

The participants will be put through extreme weather conditions like those experienced by the Apollo 13 astronauts--everything from acute heat and cold to claustrophobic situations to test contestants' mental and physical mettle and stress levels. Doctors and psychologists will be on hand to monitor the player's progress throughout. And, in the vein of "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," "X Quest" will also be an elimination-style competition.

Incorporating state-of-the-art graphics, producers will give players missions that will enable them "to get off the ships," said Nevins, and encounter advanced simulated environments such as planets, comets and asteroids. Both teams will also be assigned "specific tasks they'll have to accomplish" that will aid them in solving a larger mystery at the heart of the game.

The show will be as authentic as possible, basing its look and action on actual technology and scientific tenets--so don't expect to see E.T.s beaming in. However, due to the laws of physics, "X Quest" will not be set in zero gravity. Producers declined to reveal all the details of the show--such as what the grand prize is or whether eliminated players will be blown out the airlock.

The principles have been developing the concept for months and envision "X Quest" as an enterprise that will appeal to videogamers, sci-fi fans and general reality-TV junkies. Spectrum Mediaworks will also develop a videogame tie-in for "X Quest."

This is reality TV's latest flirtation with the stars (and we're not talking the dancing variety). In 2000, uber-producer Mark Burnett hatched "Destination: Mir," an unscripted series with NBC that aimed to follow contestants through astronaut training, with the winner getting a rocket ride to Russia's Mir space station. But those lofty ambitions were scuttled along with Mir, which fell back down to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere four years ago.

Howard, meantime, is in the midst of shooting his big-budget adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code" with Tom Hanks. His most recent film, the critically praised, "Cinderella Man," struggled at the box office but is considered a contender come Oscar season.

As for "X Quest," it's being prepped for a launch in summer 2006. Fox reality honcho Mike Darnell will serve as executive producer.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: The Water Cooler

Kathy Griffin Is... Not Nicole Kidman

Bravo's back-to-back airings of Kathy's new comedy special and the premiere of her new reality series was almost too much of a laugh riot for one person to take. The first words out of her mouth in her special

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest ranster627

FROM TV GUIDE: the Water Cooler

Meet Mister Mom

Oh, if the feminists of the '70s could see us now. It's the 21st century, and we're still trying to train our men to understand what an unfair pain in the collective butt traditional gender roles are for mothers. I really would like someone to explain to me how and why working women still find themselves doing most of the housework and childcare in a two-parent home. OK, I'll stop the diatribe and watch anyway as these dads get graded on cleaning, parenting, time management and nutrition, not to mention sleepover-party-planning, farm-animal care and primitive-vehicle construction. I think Tom Potter definitely had the advantage in this match, simply because he has daughters (and here I go assigning girls their gender roles so early). Plus they're slightly older than Dan Smith's boys, and the youngest Potter, 6-year-old Ashton, provides comic relief instead of throwing temper tantrums like 4-year-old Mitchell Smith. And despite Tom's initial panic, he totally bonded with the llama, too. Dan couldn't keep it together on the cleaning front, and he gave in to Mitchell's demands too easily (what sane father gives any kid 14 fudge pops in four days?). Things had a way of falling together for him at the last minute, including (pun intended) in that soap-box derby. The scenes of the moms learning flair bartending and receiving tennis lessons from a very friendly pro would have been so much better if we didn't have to see them get teary every time they thought about their kids. Enjoy without regrets, ladies! It was much more appropriate to see the husbands' very emotional promises to pitch in around the house more in the future. Sure, the Potters won $25,000 for their kids' education (um, and judging by that McMansion of theirs, I doubt they need it much), but if these dads hold to their pledges, both moms will have received quite a nice gift. We've got you on tape, boys.

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  • 1 month later...

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Reality TV Becomes America's Fast Track

by Jill Serjeant

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Can you spot the next 'American Idol' among the thousands of auditioners?

LOS ANGELES, California - With over 100 shows and $50 million in prize money, reality TV has become America's fast track to fame, wealth and even true love. But if you want a piece of the action, you'll need perseverance, nerves of steel and plenty of time on your hands.

"Most people think it is just really easy to get on these shows and at this point almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who has been on reality TV. (But) It is much less accessible than people think," said Matthew Robinson, author of "How to Get on Reality TV."

Some 25,000 to 50,000 people seeking their 15 minutes of fame apply to audition every season for top shows like "Survivor," "Fear Factor" and "The Bachelor." Shows like "American Idol" -- which offers the winner a chance to become a pop star -- is by far the toughest on which to land a spot with more than 100,000 aspiring contestants.

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Contestants line up for a 'Survivor' casting call in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The line wraps around a department store parking lot even in sub-zero

freezing temperatures.

"Survivor" puts contestants in remote locations where they must use their wits to stay in the competition. Contestants in "The Amazing Race" make an around-the-world journey while "The Bachelor" features an eligible man and a group of potential mates. On "Fear Factor" participants have to perform stunts including eating all manner of insects and offal.

Robinson, a Hollywood screenwriter and self-confessed reality TV junkie, tells wannabes how to survive auditions and what casting directors are looking for. He passes on some sage advice from past contestants who have been there, eaten that -- and mostly wished they hadn't.

"Almost all of them regret it, with the exception of everybody on 'Amazing Race,' all of whom loved it. The "Bachelor' people I spoke to said they totally regretted it and ended up looking like idiots. The experience of being on these shows is pretty traumatic. I feel for a lot of people who come out of it totally shell-shocked," Robinson said.

A Hunted Woman

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'Real World: Hawaii" Cast includes (L-R) Colin, Amaya Bruescher, Matt,

Kaia and Ruthie.

Amaya Bruescher, who was a contestant in "The Real World" in 1999, said she had to dye her hair, change her look and still wears hats to avoid being recognized. Although the bloom has gone off reality television for U.S. networks, which are offering more scripted drama this season, Robinson said most reality shows saw a 20 to 30 percent increase in the number of would-be contestants.

Robinson said he was surprised at the hurdles potential contestants have to go through, including spending several days sequestered in a hotel, full medicals by three separate doctors, psychological tests and background checks by private investigators. "Most people quit their jobs to get on these shows. People definitely sacrifice a lot," he said.

Money is one motivating factor along with fame, although most of those who try out are simply thirsting for a once in a lifetime adventure. For "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette" you really have to want to fall in love. And on prime time television, no less.

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CBS' 'The Amazing Race' won in the Reality Competition

Program category.

Reality television has made such inroads into the schedules and affections of the American public over the past five years, the genre was added as a reality category to the Emmy Awards. When a glut of reality shows crowded the air waves, the Emmy committee split that category into two separate awards.

Outstanding Reality Program was awarded to "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" this year. Outstanding Reality Competition Program went to "The Amazing Race" for the second year consecutively. Robinson thinks short-lived shows like "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire," "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" and the adoption show "Who's Your Daddy?" pushed the genre to its limits.

However, Robinson believes reality is here to stay. "I don't think it's a fad. It's a matter of cost. You can do an entire season of 'The Bachelor' for the same cost as one episode of 'ER'," Robinson said, referring to the popular hospital drama. "Reality TV makes good economic sense. And, perhaps more important, these shows are just plain entertaining."

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RealityTV Magazine

'How to Get on Reality TV'

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'How to Get on Reality TV'

In a new book entitled "How to Get on Reality TV," Hollywood screenwriter, industry insider and reality TV expert, Matthew Robinson provides readers with tips, tricks, clues and hints on how they too can land on one of today

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  • 3 months later...

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Pop Goes the Alphabet

by Josef Adalian and Michael Schneider

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'Operacion Triunfo'

ABC and Endemol USA are teaming to import the hit Spanish format "Operacion Triunfo," a singing competition that's a mash-up of "American Idol" and "Big Brother." With "American Idol" more popular than ever in the U.S., the ABC series will go a step beyond that format by focusing on the training of aspiring pop stars.

"Operacion Triunfo" shows would-be Kelly Clarksons living and studying together in a fully working school of music that doubles as the contestants' home. Performances will still be key to the show, but an almost equal weight will be put on the soapy behind-the-scene storylines mostly ignored by 'Idol,' according to Endemol USA chief David Goldberg.

"Operacion Triunfo" has been a monster hit since launching in Spain back in September 2001, spawning successful versions in Britain under the title of "Fame Academy", in France under the title of "Star Academy" and several other countries. No name has yet been selected for the U.S. version.

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Britain's 'Fame Academy'

ABC reality chief Andrea Wong told Daily Variety that the format complemented the network's brand of feel-good reality -- such as Endemol's own "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." "This is about wish fulfillment, about making dreams come true," she said.

"It's about the hope found in young people as they're following their dreams and aiming for a shot at fame and success," Wong added. "Operacion Triunfo" hit it big in Spain right around the same time "Pop Idol" premiered in the United Kingdom but well before "American Idol" hit it big for Fox in summer 2002.

The U.S. version of 'Idol' has largely eschewed showcasing the sausage-making aspects of the fame factory, heavily selling the "dream" aspect of pop stardom. Indeed, a plan to feature more behind-the-scenes footage during season two of the series was quickly dropped a few weeks into production.

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'Operacion Triunfo'

By contrast, "Operacion Triunfo" will highlight the struggles of aspiring stars as they try to transform themselves from average Joes into pop kings, according to Goldberg. "There are a lot of shows out there, going back to 'Star Search,' that are performance shows," Goldberg said.

"What we rarely see is what it takes to get to the point where a person is performing onstage," Goldberg added. "If you have a singer fighting laryngitis and can't hit certain notes, or if you see that person is struggling the last week to do that dance, (showing that) reality brings a heightened attention and interest."

According to an ABC representative, the show is expected to take place over 10 weeks, with 12 contestants competing for the ultimate prize: money and a recording contract. One early plan has the show airing three times a week, with one episode focusing on the behind-the-scenes reality, another centering on live performances and the third featuring the results.

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Britain's 'Fame Academy' mansion

In "Triunfo," music academy teachers nominate three students for expulsion each week. Remaining students immediately get to save one of their peers, with viewers deciding which of the two left standing get to return.

The format's ratings have been huge in many countries, particularly France, where "Star Academy" attracting a jaw-dropping 70 share at one point. In Spain, the original series produced record ratings for TVE, averaging a 40 share during its first season.

Goldberg, who's just begun looking for an executive producer for the American "Triunfo," said he believed there was room for a different kind of talent competition, especially given that "American Idol" only airs for half a year.

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'Operacion Triunfo'

"There's a different way to do this show," Goldberg said. "It's a show we've done for years in Europe. It's ironic that it's taken this long to get this show established here. It co-exists in many markets where 'Pop Idol' is and in some cases it beats it."

Endemol currently has hits on ABC with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," NBC with "Deal or No Deal" and "Fear Factor" and CBS with "Big Brother," which is a co-production with Shapiro/Grodner.

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LOS ANGELES(AP) With Fox's "American Idol" showing no sign of going flat, NBC announced it's planning a singing competition based on a 50-year-old European show that helped launch the careers of Celine Dion and ABBA.

The U.S. version of "Eurovision Song Contest" will combine broadcast and online elements, NBC said Friday. As with "American Idol," which itself was patterned on the hit British series "Pop Idol," the winner will receive a recording contract.

"'Eurovision' is the granddaddy of all talent shows and the Super Bowl of singing," Ben Silverman, chairman of series producer Reveille, said in a statement.

As described by the network, the show will include an online competition to find singers from each state, with the winners advancing to the broadcast series to vie for the title. Voting will be in the hands of viewers.

Further details on the series, which will feature amateurs and professionals and solo act or group acts, are in development, NBC said.

"American Idol," which this week bested the Grammy Awards in head-to-head ratings competition, showcases nonprofessionals.

In 1974, ABBA won the "Eurovision" contest for Sweden with "Waterloo." Dion won for Switzerland in 1988 and Olivia Newton-John competed for the United Kingdom in 1974. In 1958, an Italian singer performed the show's most widely recorded song, "Volare," NBC said.

No air date for the NBC series was announced.

*if NBC can find another ABBA I'm all for it* YAY

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Warm 'Hero Welcome' for CBS Reality

by Josef Adalian

CBS is going for warm and fuzzy with "A Hero's Welcome," a reality project in the works from A. Smith & Co. "It's a show that reunites heroes with the people whose lives they saved," said Arthur Smith, who's executive producing with Kent Weed and Tom Klein.

Patrick Duffy has been tapped to host the show. CBS has ordered a pilot and is mulling a series commitment. A. Smith & Co. produces the Fox series, "Skating With Celebrities" and "Hell's Kitchen."

Weed said "A Hero's Welcome" will "be kind of like 'It's a Wonderful Life'" since producers will show how events might have been different if the hero in question hadn't intervened. "These are regular people from all walks of life who just stepped up on a moment's notice," Weed said.

Self-contained episodes will each have two main elements: A movie-style re-creation of the heroic act and a reunion between all the parties involved. Survivors will then work with producers to plan a special event for the person who saved their lives as a way of thanking them.

"It's got the drama of the lifesaving event and the emotion of these people coming together again," Smith said. "It's about rewarding someone who's deserving. There's a lot of closure in the show."

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MTV Meets the Reality Press

by Denise Martin

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Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner

MTV has given the thumbs up to an "Apprentice"-style series in which aspiring journalists vie for a chance at a staff position at Rolling Stone magazine. Rumors surrounding the untitled yet project had surfaced in recent months but MTV made the news of a series commitment official Wednesday, March 22.

The yet untitled Rolling Stone project will pit writers against one another in a three-month competition, in which they'll cover a range of assignments with the help of the publication's top editors in hopes of clinching a job. Production begins this summer for a premiere later this year.

"Throughout our history, we have seen the careers of some of the nation's most notable journalists flourish, including Cameron Crowe and the late Hunter S. Thompson," Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone founder-publisher said. "We are anxious to meet the candidates and welcome them into the Rolling Stone family as they embark on their professional careers."

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Blowin' Up's Jamie Kennedy

The music network also announced greenlights for a pair of reality series and said this year's "Video Music Awards" would be returning to New York City. MTV has committed to eight episodes each of "Blowin' Up" and "Fast Incorporated," slated to premiere in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.

"Blowin' Up" follows Jamie Kennedy and sidekick Stu Stone as they try to break into the hip-hop music business by hounding record label executives. "Fast Incorporated" is a car show in which a team of "car hunters" field celebrity requests for the finest in vintage and muscle cars.

As for the "Video Music Awards," they will air live on Thursday, August 31 at 8 p.m. from Radio City Music Hall. The previous two editions took place in Miami. The event also will be telecast on sister network MTV2, college web mtvU, mtvU Uber, MTV.com and broadband channel Overdrive.

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Lights, Camera . . . Steven Spielberg

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Steven Spielberg

Turns out even Steven Spielberg can't resist the lure of reality television. The Oscar-winning director of films including "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" will join with reality TV mogul Mark Burnett for "On the Lot," a competition in which the winner receives a studio deal.

"All through my career I've done what I can to discover new talent and give them a start," Spielberg said in a statement Thursday, April 6. He called the series, scheduled to air next season on Fox, a chance to open "a much wider door."

A nationwide search, with details yet to be determined, will be conducted to find 16 finalists, Fox said. The group will be brought to Hollywood, divided into teams, then given the task of producing one short film each week.

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Steven Spielberg

Each weekly project will reflect a different genre, ranging from comedy to drama to horror, and professional writers, actors and crew will be made available, the network said. "If the contestants are resourceful enough, they may even be able to land Hollywood celebrities to star in their films," according to Fox.

The films will be shown before a studio audience and panel of judges to include a movie executive, film critic and guests. TV viewers will decide which film is the loser and the team member who directed it will be out of the contest a new twist on the term "director's cut."

The winner will be "whisked away to the DreamWorks studio, met by Steven Spielberg" and to an office on the lot and a development deal, Fox said. Terms of the deal weren't available, the network said.

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Mark Burnett

Fox has some experience with talent contests: "American Idol," in its fifth cycle, is holding steady as television's most-watched show this season. Burnett, whose series include "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," called the chance to work with Spielberg "a dream come true." They are the show's creators and executive producers.

This is the second time Burnett has teamed with DreamWorks (which recently became part of entertainment giant Viacom Inc.). Last year, he and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg produced the reality boxing contest, "The Contender." It was a ratings flop for NBC but was picked up for its second season by ESPN, starting in summer.

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Courtesy of: REAILITY TV MAGAZINE

Diabetes Fundraiser A Reality

Thirty or more reality television stars from shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, The Mole, Average Joe, Starting Over and others will be on hand in late April for a weekend of fundraising events to benefit Diabetes research in the fifth annual fundraiser hosted by Reality 4 Diabetes.

The fundraiser will begin on Thursday, April 27 with a Survivor viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings, 4550 Glendale-Milford Rd from 7-10 p.m.. For a $5.00 donation at the door, attendees can mingle with the reality stars and join them in viewing that Thursday

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