April 15, 2013 2:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Adam Carolla Pilot Among Spike TV's Ambitious Nonscripted Slate
Spike TV is going big, unveiling a nonscripted development slate featuring 11 pilots in genres including cooking, real estate and automotive.
As the Viacom-owned cabler aims to court what it dubbed a "more general audience" including women, the network will team with production companies behind The Biggest Loser and Hatfields & McCoys, among others.
"Our 2013 development slate reflects Spike's ongoing commitment to develop original programming that features big stakes and engaging personalities who are leading authorities in their respective fields," said Sharon Levy, exec vp original series at Spike TV. "We're partnering with some of the most innovative and creative producers in nonscripted entertainment to produce series that further our goal of widening our audience."
After announcing a docuseries featuring magician Criss Angel in January and picking up a pair of unscripted entries featuring MMA star Randy Couture, Spike will team with Adam Carolla for a contracting project and expand its Bar Rescue franchise with Jon Taffer searching other restaurants in need.
"Over the last year and a half, with the success if Ink Master and Bar Rescue we've done two things: We've established some amazing talent for the band," Levy told The Hollywood Reporter. "One of the things we're really looking for is building out that amazing stable of talent with incredible experts who are also amazing TV personalities. The other common thread that these shows have together is they deliver really smart information with an edge. All of these shows compliment each other and that will help us program from night to night and build biggest audience we can and pursue our mission of broadening the audience and bringing more women to the channel while keeping our loyal young men 18-34. As of of last Sunday, we hit highest demo ever with Bar Rescue. Our shows are doing that and this slate is a very focused effort to continue what's already working.
Here's a look at the 11 projects on Spike's 2013 development slate:
TO CATCH A CONTRACTOR
Adam Carolla is not just a renowned television, radio, and Internet personality with one of the most-downloaded podcasts in the world, he is also a passionate, knowledgeable construction expert. In this pilot, Carolla serves as a vigilant watchdog to homeowners or businesses who have been cheated by a contractor and left with an unfinished disaster. Carolla, along with no-nonsense contractor Skip Bedell, hunts down the shoddy builder and gets retribution for the owner by making them fix the disaster and finish the job. Eyeworks USA created the pilot for Spike TV. Executive producers for Eyeworks USA are JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, DJ Nurre, Brant Pinvidic and Kevin Harris.
Graham Elliot, award-winning chef, restaurateur and acclaimed judge on hit series MasterChef, gives viewers an exclusive invitation into the underground restaurant world in Covert Kitchens. Now a fixture all across America, these one-night-only culinary events are put on by some of the world's top chefs in alleyways, train cars and even tattoo parlors. It all has to come together in one day -- the food, the setting and the service. Can they pull it off? Find out on Covert Kitchens, a pilot from Shine America, the studio behind such popular series as MasterChef and The Biggest Loser.
Hungry Investors is the next project for Bar Rescue star Jon Taffer. With Eyeworks USA producing, Taffer teams with two fellow restaurant industry experts to seek out "diamonds in the rough" -- neighboring establishments that are failing miserably, despite having amazing potential to succeed. The hungry investors put the struggling restaurants to the test in a head-to-head, challenge-based competition and the one enterprise that shows the most promise of turning things around earns a significant cash investment. Executive producers for Eyeworks USA are Brant Pinvidic, JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson and DJ Nurre.
The buying and selling of businesses is a high stakes game where fortunes can be made and lost in mere moments. Business brokers act as the shrewd and astute middlemen behind these high-pressure deals and reap a percentage on the sale of companies they represent. In this Spike pilot, an aspiring small business owner is presented with three companies that are up for sale. With the guidance of a seasoned business broker, the fledgling business owner decides which company to purchase. Several months later, the show follows up to find out whether the small business owner succeeded in making their dream purchase into a moneymaker. Biz Brokers comes to Spike TV from The T Group.
Superstar chef Eric Greenspan is going across the country to create culinary history by finding Americans with the most incredible and unique food creations. In each episode, the top food innovators will go head-to-head in order to get their mouthwatering, unexpected food combinations onto the menu of a restaurant, win a cash prize and possibly create the next big food craze. Greenspan is the chef and owner of The Foundry and The Roof on Wilshire, and once defeated the legendary Bobby Flay on the television series Iron Chef America. Sharp Entertainment brought the presentation to Spike TV.
AUTO BODY AVENGERS
With more than 200 million registered vehicles in the U.S., it's no surprise that auto repair shops are a booming business. Unfortunately, you don't always get what you pay for. While the majority of auto body shops are fair and honest businesses, there are unscrupulous ones who seek to rip off unrespecting car owners by charging them for unnecessary or shoddy repairs. In Autobody Avengers, a team of operatives go undercover to spotlight the garages suspected of fraud. Matador produced the presentation.
It seems every neighborhood has a property monstrosity that is in such disarray that it's diminishing the value of all of the houses on the block. In this Spike TV original pilot, a concerned group of neighbors joins forces to confront their negligent neighbor. The exasperated group sternly offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to renovate and fix the disastrous house as long as the neighbor-from-hell moves out and leaves the renovation in the hands of the concerned neighbors. The pilot is produced by Thinkfactory Media, the driving force behind History's miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.
Outrageous criminal defense attorney Adam Reposa is a powerful voice for the underdog and a dedicated champion for justice who loves taking the path of most resistance as he defends "the least among us." Based in Austin, Texas, Adam takes on shady salesmen, nasty neighbors, lousy landlords and anyone else who stands in the way of "Reposa Justice." The show comes to Spike TV from Left/Right and Watson Pond Productions.
TAKE THIS JOB AND LOVE IT
Job applicants unwittingly compete for a full-time position as hidden cameras capture their reactions to being put through extreme on-the-job tests designed to find the perfect hire. The applicant who handles the situation best under pressure, judged by a hiring expert and the business owner, is given the chance to fill a lucrative position within the company. The pilot is being produced for Spike by Scott Stone, Ross McCall and Stone & Company.
WE'RE THE BOSS
Can you imagine having the opportunity to choose your next boss? In this workplace reality series, everyday employees across America will get to be in charge for one week. By week's end, the company will be changed -- hopefully for the better. The Hochberg Ebersol Company (THE Co.) created and is producing the pilot. Justin W. Hochberg and Charlie Ebersol are executive producers.
This pilot takes viewers inside the fast-paced, high-stakes world of hard money lending, a practice that is, in essence, legal loan-sharking. These hard money lenders offer short-term loans at steep interest rates guaranteed by significant collateral. If the loans default, they collect collateral worth many times the amount of the loan itself. This series follows three successful hard money lenders and documents their never-ending rollercoaster ride in the world of high financial desperation. The lenders work individually but there is constant competition among them for the best loans. Hard Money comes to Spike TV from Matador.
Added Levy: "There are a lot of amazingly talented producers in this slate and that's a great testament to where the channel is going -- that we can work with such A-list producers on a continuing basis and broaden who we're working with."
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit