New reality for Fox TV Studios

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Already reshaping the scripted series production model with several internationally produced dramas, including "Mental," Fox TV Studios is now shaking things up on the reality side.

The company plans to film four to five unscripted pilots abroad this year, both for the local markets and the U.S.

The first two, the game shows "Family Trust" and "Family Dance-Off," are being shot in Chile in partnership with actor Cristian De La Fuente's Chilean-based production company EFE3, which he co-owns with producer Rodrigo Flores.

Additionally, FtvS is in talks with broadcasters in Poland and Bulgaria on other formats.

The pilots for "Family Trust" and "Family Dance-Off" are being filmed in English and Spanish. Comedian Greg Fitzsimmons hosts the English version of "Family Trust," with Chilean TV personality Jose Miguel Vinuela on tap for the Spanish-language one.

Created by FtvS-based producer Matt Gaven and Tom Brunelle, each episode of "Family Trust" makes a family instant millionaires. The family members then battle to keep their fortune by answering questions about the world and one another. The two versions of the pilot were recently filmed in Santiago, Chile, with "Family Dance-Off," which features two families facing off on the dance floor, in preproduction.

Chilean broadcaster Megavision is in negotiations to pick up both projects with 13-episode orders, while FtvS will shop the English-language versions to U.S. networks.

"In the challenging economics of the television business in the U.S. you've got to be able to offer superior creativity at a reduced cost," FtvS president Emiliano Calemzuk said. "We're testing the model with 'Mental' on the scripted side, we think we can replicate it on the unscripted as well."

FtvS is co-financing with international broadcasters several straight-to-series dramas, including "Mental," filming in Colombia.

Like the dramas, FtvS plans to shop the internationally produced unscripted pilots to both broadcast and cable networks in the U.S.

Both "Family Trust" and "Family Dance-Off" were developed internally, but the company also has picked up format ideas from other countries. A foreign detour could be a good strategy as evidenced by the success of Fox's "Moment of Truth," which was developed in the U.S. but landed on an American network after it became a hit in Colombia. And, in the fiercely competitive U.S. TV reality marketplace, the networks are increasingly demanding footage in support of a pitch. (partialdiff)
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