Kauffman conjures 'Gifted'


"Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman is making her first foray into reality television with "Gifted," an unscripted presentation for Fox set in the world of psychics.

The project, which she is executive producing with J.D. Roth, will test the skills of people who believe they have psychic abilities -- such as reading Tarot cards and communicating with spirits -- to determine the most gifted one. Roth's 3 Ball Prods. and Warner Horizon TV are producing.

"Gifted" stems from Kauffman's genuine curiosity about the paranormal, which became deeper after her parents died. In her purse, she always carries a pendulum used by many to get "yes or no" answers to any question.

"I have always been fascinated about what we can't see and the gifts that people have that enable them to do incredible things," Kauffman said. "And I have always wanted to know if there is a way to quantify people's ability."

Emmy winner Kauffman, who is based at Warner Bros. TV, said she had never thought about doing an unscripted project until WBTV president Peter Roth asked her during a meeting if she had any reality show ideas. After her initial "No, you know I hate reality television" reaction, Kauffman said she began thinking about it and came up with the idea for "Gifted."

Peter Roth then put her in touch with reality producer J.D. Roth, whose credits include hits "Beauty and the Geek" and "The Biggest Loser."

"We hit it off right away," J.D. Roth said. "I'm a huge fan of hers and the shows she's done, and for me to be working with her is a gift itself."

He breaks down people as 10% who firmly believe and are passionate about the paranormal, 10% who completely dismiss the idea and 80% who don't believe but want to.

"Most people want to believe," Kauffman said.

She and J.D. Roth are scouting locations this week, with production on "Gifted" slated to begin next week.

If the project goes to series, the idea is for a panel of experts to narrow down the field of participants and to have the finalists possibly living under the same roof.

In addition to Kauffman and J.D. Roth, "Gifted" is executive produced by 3 Ball partner Todd Nelson.

The project reunites 3 Ball with Fox, where the company produced reality series "Unanimous."

Kauffman is repped by Endeavor and attorney Sam Fischer. J.D. Roth is repped by WMA.