April 09, 2014 9:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
TV Land, Electus Revive 'Candid Camera' for Summer
Smile, TV Land, you're on Candid Camera.
The Viacom-owned cable network is teaming with Ben Silverman's Electus and Peter Funt's Candid Camera Inc. to co-produce a new version of the iconic hidden-camera series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The original series first debuted on TV in 1948 and ran, in various incarnations and with a number of hosts, through 2004. TV Land will revive the series for a 10-episode run set to air in the summer. The series, as its title implies, hides cameras to capture the reactions of ordinary people being confronted with unusual and often challenging situations. The payoff comes with the show's trademark tagline: "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."
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Funt, the son of Candid Camera's original creator and host Allen Funt, will co-host the TV Land version and executive produce alongside Silverman, TV Land president Larry W. Jones and Keith Cox. A second co-host and casting will be announced at a later date. "We'll be daring but respectful, funny yet insightful," Funt said. Funt co-hosted Candid Camera specials with his father and became the producer and host after his dad suffered a stroke in 1993."
A remake of Candid Camera is the perfect addition to our portfolio of original series," Jones said. "The show is full of joyful laughter that catches you off-guard and leaves you in high spirits -- exactly the outlook that our brand embodies."
TV Land becomes the latest in a long line of networks to carry some variation of Candid Camera. The series debuted on ABC (1948-49), with NBC, CBS and Ion also airing the series, which has sold multiple times in syndication.
The Candid Camera reboot arrives as similar hidden-camera formats have been popping up on cable and broadcast networks alike. TBS has Who Gets the Last Laugh, hosted by Donald Faison; MTV recently revived Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd; Vivica A. Fox will host Lifetime's Prank My Mom; andTruTV has Impractical Jokers, among others. NBC recently tried its hand at the genre with Betty White's Off Their Rockers. The show ran for two seasons before it was canceled and revived at Lifetime.
For TV Land, adding Candid Camera makes sense given the network's penchant for classic sitcoms including The Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show, Gilligan's Island, The Golden Girls, Roseanne, Three's Company and more. The decision to reboot Candid Camera comes after TV Land passed on reviving Off Their Rockers.
Candid Camera will join a slate of originals at TV Land including Hot in Cleveland, The Exes, Kirstie, The Soul Man and its first single-camera comedy, Jennifer Falls, which will also premiere in the summer.
At Electus, meanwhile, Candid Camera joins a roster of unscripted programs including ABC's Bet on Your Baby, NBC's Food Fighters, VH1's Mob Wives, TBS' King of the Nerds and more.
Silverman, a longtime fan of Candid Camera, tells THR that TV Land approached him to find a half-hour reality series to pair with its original scripted comedies and he suggested a remake of the long-running format. The new version, he says, will have a more positive focus than some of the others in the genre.
"You'll see things that cover the most relevant themes of our time; we're going to be doing different bits and narrative serials in the show that have come from the DNA of the original but are things that have never been done before," he says, noting that with cameras now a regular part of our daily lives, it made sense to revisit Candid Camera.
Asked if the series could feature a live component, Silverman said producers had considered that option but "probably won't" take on the live format in the initial cycle. "That's something we're all very interested in and have discussed a ton with TV Land," he said. (TV Land has filmed multiple episodes of its original comedies live.)
WME's Mark Itkin packaged Candid Camera for TV Land.