Lisa Kudrow brings series to MIPCOM

Doc reality series centers on genealogy; stars booked

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CANNES -- Former "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow is taking celebs back to their roots for the family tree reality series "Who Do You Think You Are?" Exec producer Kudrow was in Cannes to promote the new alternative series plus the Web TV series "Web Therapy" alongside production partner Dan Bucatinsky.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" is set to air on NBC in and is produced by Is or Isn't Entertainment and U.K.-based Wall to Wall. The adaptation of BBC doc series created/exec produced by Alex Graham is a history lesson sprinkled with star power. Graham will exec produce with Kudrow and Bucatinsky.

The doc reality series is a unique format for NBC, but Kudrow and Bucantinsky were surprised by the amount of creative freedom the U.S. major gave them to remain loyal to the original show. "I thought: 'You're not going to make us eat a cup of worms before we meet our great-grandparents?' " Kudrow said, adding: "NBC just gets the show from start to finish."

Kudrow will be in front of the camera as one of the celebs heading back to her past, and actresses Susan Sarandon and Sarah Jessica Parker are among the famous faces set for genealogical makeovers. Producers have made seven episodes for the series that will air on NBC in primetime starting in January.

"The hope is that people will tune in because it's Sarah Jessica Parker or Susan Sarandon," Kudrow said.

"It's far from the E! True Hollywood Story. We have a tendency to put celebrities on a pedestal. No show has treated stars this way before,' Bucantinsky added:

"Who Do You Think You Are?" is a 42-minute show with commercials, and producers are working closely with a team of historians and genealogists to trace back celebs' roots.

Producers are hoping that the show will have international appeal thanks to the universal stories and the fact that the show's subjects are all globally recognized names and faces.

NBC.com is working on a partnership with online genealogy powerhouse Ancestry.com to create a cross-platform interactive Web site to coincide with the launch of the series.

Kudrow and Bucantinsky are no strangers to the cross-platform world, as the two producers are also in Cannes to promote shortform Web series "Web Therapy," in which Kudrow also stars. The franchise model sponsored by Lexus has seen huge success after a launch on Hulu that then rolled our to iTunes and YouTube.

"Web Therapy" currently has two 15-episode seasons under its belt, and producers are starting to develop a third season.

This is the first MIPCOM market for both Kudrow and Bucatinsky, who will speak at a "Rethinking Production" conference Tuesday in Cannes focusing on multiplatform projects.
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