44 Blue Productions, 2 Brits attack reality


44 Blue Prods. has teamed with two British companies to develop separate unscripted projects -- an action-adventure competition and a families-in-crisis program -- that will be pitched to U.S. networks as well as overseas.

44 Blue, whose credits range from MSNBC's "Lockup" to Style Network's "Split Ends," has joined Amaze TV to develop "Witness Protection," described as a high-stakes reality action-adventure "hide and seek" competition. Each episode would feature a contestant plucked from his everyday life and given a new identity then try to elude trackers hunting them down.

Meanwhile, 44 Blue is developing "Dinnervention" with Alchemy Reality, the unscripted division of London- and Los Angeles-based producer-distributor Alchemy Television . Each episode would introduce a family in crisis whose members have lost touch with one another -- and rarely sit down together to eat. A team of experts would help each family try to improve their eating habits and interpersonal communication.

Both are being developed as hourlong projects, with 44 Blue planning to pitch in the U.S. and the British companies planning to pitch in the U.K.

Stephanie Drachkovitch, who co-founded 44 Blue with her husband, Rasha, said they decided to develop original ideas rather than acquire formats so that the company could tailor them for particular audiences from the start.

"These are not acquired formats; we are co-developing each of these," Drachkovitch said. " It's exciting to be developing transcontinentally."

Amaze TV, founded by Remy Blumenfeld, has been behind more than 60 U.K. programs, including "Gay, Straight or Taken?" "The Verdict" and "Dancing With the Stars." Jonathan Stadlen is head of development.

Alchemy Reality is headed by CEO Mike Beale, who was co-founder and deputy managing director of U.K. i company 12 Yard and before that was a producer at the BBC and Hat Trick Prods.