Game on for BermanBraun

'Duel' is company's first pickup

Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun's BermanBraun has landed its first series pickup, with ABC giving a 10-episode order to a game show titled "Duel."

The format of the hourlong show was created by David Rosconval and Francis Vacher of French TV, who will executive produce with Berman and Braun.

In addition to ABC, British broadcaster ITV also has commissioned its own version of the series from French TV.

"Duel" combines the knowledge and strategy required involved in classic game shows along with the gambling, bluffing and tension of a high-stakes poker game. It pits contestants head-to-head in a race to win a big-money jackpot. Five competitors in a row must be beaten to take home the ever-increasing jackpot. Players go home with nothing if they miss even one question.

ABC has yet to determine the premiere date for the show, which will be supervised at BermanBraun by Matt Hanna, head of alternative programming. In the U.K., the eight-part series will be produced by Gallowgate Prods. and TX and air on ITV1 in a primetime slot starting early next year.

Berman said the ABC pickup was a "wonderful gift" for the company -- which launched this year -- especially coming just before the 2007-08 season kicks off. She said that after BermanBraun heard about the format, executives met with the French TV folks and "we scooped it up."

"It's a simple format, easy to follow," she said. "It's mano a mano, me against you, which we love. And there's a lot of tension built into the game, which audiences love. It has all the elements to make a terrific game show."

Berman said one of the next steps is to work with ABC on finding a host for the series.

As for the ITV pickup, controller of entertainment Duncan Gray said: "The second (Gallowgate managing director) Ed Forsdick and I played Duel I was hooked. It's a compelling game, which I hope will make a great TV show."

French TV's recent credits include the comedy game show "It's My Show" in Switzerland and "Mascarade" for France's TF1. The company is repped by WMA.

BermanBraun inked a first-look development deal with NBC Universal Television in the spring and recently landed two script commitments at NBC, one for a drama from "Prime Suspect" creator Lynda La Plante and one for a comedy from Jane Bussmann ("South Park").