TV finally goes for a Walk
Burnett gives Hollywood Blvd. star treatmentThe iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame finally will get television treatment thanks to a deal inked with Mark Burnett, whose company will create and produce several shows focused on the star franchise.
First up will be a special about the 50th anniversary of the institution, which soon will be pitched to networks and likely air around the time of the milestone in November 2010.
The Walk of Fame is the only physical location in the world where film, television, music, live theater and radio stars are honored side-by-side for their accomplishments. More than 2,300 individuals in various industries have stars along Hollywood and Vine; actress Joanne Woodward was one of the inaugural 10 recipients in 1960.
"The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has grand plans for the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the creative community. We have long pursued a television show about the Walk of Fame and are delighted that dream is being realized to mark the culmination of this celebration," Chamber president/CEO Leron Gubler said Monday.
Gubler said that for 16 years he has had discussions about a TV tribute for the Walk of Fame, but they always came to naught — until Burnett showed interest.
"Mark clearly understands the possibilities of leveraging the Walk of Fame within the TV and Web worlds," Gubler said.
Said Burnett, president of Mark Burnett Prods., "The stories of these stars make this a unique asset to develop content from, and we are excited to partner with Leron and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to see the Walk of Fame come to life."
Vanguard Entertainment and Global Icons, the Chamber's licensing agencies, are spearheading development of TV and digital content from the Walk of Fame and made the deal with MBP. Proceeds from the TV shows, Web content, brand sponsors and ancillary rights will help the Chamber pay for refurbishment of the Walk of Fame and its ongoing programs supporting the community of Hollywood.
No financial details of the deal with MBP were available; Gubler said it would cost upward of $4 million to refurbish the Walk of Fame areas and that corporate sponsorships are being encouraged to help boost the funding.
MBP head of development David Eilenberg said his company got involved because the Walk of Fame is "a terrific brand, recognized worldwide," and that Burnett himself would be "very active" in extending it on television.
Eilenberg said his team is already thinking beyond the 50th special to a series that profiles the many talents who have their stars in concrete and another that would be a pop-culture game that references some of the awardees.
In addition to producing such shows as CBS' "Survivor," NBC's "The Apprentice" and Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" MBP got involved two years ago with awards shows when Burnett served as executive producer on the MTV Movie Awards. He will do so for the third time May 31.
The reality programming exec will receive his own star on the Walk of Fame this year.
For almost 90 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has provided business development resources and networking opportunities for the community. THR is one of the media partners on the Walk of Fame. (partialdiff)