May 01, 2013 8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC Orders Talent Competition Pilot 'You're Booked'
A version of this story first appeared in the May 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
ABC is looking to the success of Shark Tank for a new spin on the talent competition series.
The network home to Dancing With the Stars has ordered to pilot You're Booked, an America's Got Talent-type competition series from Sony Pictures Television and 310 Entertainment, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Based on the format created by U.K. production company Gogglebox Entertainment, Booked would feature four judges evaluating a wide range of performers -- singers, dancers, comedians -- competing in front of four bookers representing some of America's biggest and best-known venues for a chance to be booked to play at them.
Shark Tank's Clay Newbill and America's Got Talent James Sunderland are on board to executive produce the pilot, which has enlisted The Roxy's Nic Adler, MGM Resorts International senior vice president of entertainment Chris Baldizan, AEG Live senior vice president Ali Harnell and Caesars Entertainment Corp. vice president and head of entertainment Kurt Melien as judges.
"We're hoping that we can craft a next-generation and different iteration of a talent experience with the real world immediacy of booking," SPT executive vice president of reality and syndicating programming Holly Jacobs tells THR. "The most real world experience in the entertainment field is to be able to be booked in venues and that's what we wanted to reflect."
The plan is for each episode to be self-contained, featuring a number of aspiring entertainers performing for the judges with at least one winner receiving a booking engagement per episode. Jacobs would like Booked to also feature follow-ups -- in the same vein of Shark Tank -- where the winners' performances are featured in each episode.
"We're striving to develop something that feels like we haven't exactly seen this before," Jacobs says. "We're taking the best of what we love about Shark Tank and taking a variety show and bringing this real-world element to it."
The idea for Booked was born during one of SPT's yearly gatherings in London, where the studio meets with production companies from around the world in a push to create the next idea in the talent space.
The pilot was filmed at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with Jacobs noting the immediacy of the booking as a way to help launch a career.
"It's not always about a recording contract; it's about being able to be booked in a real venue where people come and see you and building a career to be a real working artist," she says. "We like the real-worldness of it all. It's one of the most wonderful pieces of Shark Tank -- that you can actually be changing people's lives every single week. We're hoping to do the same on You're Booked."
The project marks the latest entry in SPT's burgeoning unscripted slate that also includes Shark Tank -- which is currently casting for its anticipated fifth season on ABC; USA Network's Summer Camp; NBC's recently revived The Sing-Off; OWN's Millionaire Mama's Boy; AMC's Showville; and GSN's Newlywed, which is in its sixth season.
For ABC, the pilot order comes a few days after the network picked up six episodes of celebrity impersonation entry Sing Your Face Off.
Check out pictures from the You're Booked pilot shoot, above and below.