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CNBC is facing reality.
The business news network has announced it is developing seven reality projects, which range in theme from cash-strapped startups to high-end concierge services. At least a few of these efforts are poised to join a news-heavy schedule that has supplemented its live daytime fare with documentaries and personality profiles to mixed results in the evening.
“Exploring new formats in primetime allows us to find new ways to attract a broader viewership at night while still appealing to CNBC’s highly affluent, educated and influential audience,” said SVP primetime alternative programming Jim Ackerman, adding: “These projects are an extension of CNBC’s distinct brand complete with bold characters, big stakes and of course one undeniable common denominator … money.”
News of these unscripted projects comes nearly six months after the NBCUniversal-owned network announced it had hired Ackerman, who had spent the past nine years at VH1 producing such series as Celebrity Fit Club and Tool Academy.
CNBC’s reality slate includes:
— Franchised, which will give five contestants — high in qualifications but short on cash to launch their business — a chance to win a nationally recognized franchise in every episode. The project hails from Eyeworks USA, with JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson and Brant Pinvidic serving as executive producers.
— The tentatively titled At Your Service, which revolves around a high-end international concierge service that caters to a very high-end clientele for which no request is too crazy. Among the latter: needing 10 emperor penguins for a Happy Feet-themed kid’s party or finding a 15th century castle for a Henry the VIII fantasy vacation. The unscripted effort comes from Zodiak USA, with execs Natalka Znak and Claire O’Donohoe attached as EPs.
— Outstanding!, which centers on four high-achieving teens — and their parents — who excel in sports, the arts and academics. In addition to the glory, the cameras will capture the sacrifice, hardship and pressures. The RelativityReal series counts Tom Forman and Brad Bishop as EPs.
— Fakes and Forgeries, an Endemol USA-produced series will center on Curtis Dowling and his team of art investigators, who will try to determine whether their clients are the victims of a counterfeiter’s elaborate scheme with the use of crime lab technology.
— Venture Men, which will give budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their business ideas, get instant funding and then bring their products to market, all within a 72-hour period. The entry is produced by Sharp Entertainment, with Matt Sharp attached as an executive producer.
–The tentatively titled American Steel, which, much like History’s newly announced Counting Cars, will take viewers inside the world of competitive car flippers. In this version, it is “motor head” Joe Petralia and “money head” Jay Weinberg who find, fix and flip classic and muscle cars. The project hails from Ellman Entertainment, with Linda Ellman as on board as an EP.
— Flipping Wars: Vegas, which hits on another familiar theme – and one the net’s business reporters discuss often. It will follow four teams of wheeler dealers who see dollar signs every time they bid on a foreclosed home in Vegas, a city hardest hit by the housing crisis. MorningStar Entertainment is producing, with Gary Tarpinian and Paninee Theeranuntawat serving as executive producers and Christian Robinson attached as a co-EP.
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