Nigel Lythgoe, MGM Television Team to Revive 'Fame' for TV

Nigel Lythgoe

"Maybe we should do it underwater while basket weaving?"

The "American Idol" producer is prepared to do a modern take on the classic 1980 musical film about talented kids striving to make it.

Nigel Lythgoe and MGM Television are prepared to reimagine Fame for the small screen.

As such music-themed series as Glee, Smash and ABC's upcoming Nashville continue to generate buzz, Lythgoe has high hopes for a reboot of the classic 1980 MGM film and follow-up TV series, which chronicled the lives of talented students paying their dues on the road to success. Although the American Idol producer's iteration will be set in a contemporary era of fame, access and a nebulous definition of celebrity, the effort will expose the gritty struggle, heartache and pain endured in the search for stardom and the often lofty price paid for success, much the way the original did. 

Lythgoe, best known for his work on Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, will serve as an executive producer alongside Nigel Lythgoe Productions president Kary McHoulNational Treasure creator Charles Segars and Chad Gutstein. The project -- which has yet to hire a writer, much less a cast -- will be produced under the new MGM TV group banner. The move comes as the latter looks to take advantage of its library in a bid to regain relevance in a cluttered market. 

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“This is a great opportunity for MGM to partner with world-class producer Nigel Lythgoe, whose unmatched experience with telling the true stories of talented people striving for success will set Fame apart, ” said Roma Khanna, MGM's president of television and digital. “We are excited to work with Nigel, Charles and the team to identify a talented writer to create the new Fame -- one that reflects the struggles and joys unique to the multitude of aspiring talent today.”

Added Lythgoe: “In my lifetime, I’ve discovered a great many incredibly talented individuals. Some have achieved stardom. Simultaneously, I’ve seen many dreams shattered, egos destroyed and lives changed forever. The end destination may well be fame and fortune, but the road to stardom is littered with broken hearts. I look forward to stripping away the glitter and glamour and revealing the true mixture of passion, humanity, exhaustion and sacrifice that these richly talented individuals endure on their road to fame.”

The 2009 attempt to revive the Fame franchise on the big screen proved a hefty disappointment. The Kevin Tancharoen-directed entry starring Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth and Megan Mullally proved a flop for MGM, with a domestic box-office take of $22 million.