Fox clones ‘Smartest’ gameshow

Quizzer slated for May bow

Attention nerds: Network TV wants you.

Fox on Tuesday announced plans for “The Smartest Person in America,” an hourlong primetime quizzer that will offer at least $1 million to one lucky brainiac who successfully makes it through several rounds of intellectual grilling. Show, which is set to air this May as a backdoor pilot, will mix multimedia razzle dazzle with elements of a sporting event.

Howard Schultz will exec produce the pilot for Lighthearted Entertainment.

Skein is eerily similar in spirit to “Mastermind,” an hourlong quizzer being developed for ABC’s summer sked by Andrew Golder and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” exec producer Michael Davies.

“Mastermind,” which is based on the long-running BBC skein of the same name, will also feature a heavy multimedia component as contestants move through nine preliminary heats, three semifinal rounds and one final broadcast in which the winner is awarded major coin and the title of “Mastermind.”

ABC has been developing “Mastermind” for at least six months; “Smartest Person in America” came together more recently.

Fox was the first network to rip off “Millionaire,” launching “Greed” not long after the former quizzer exploded onto the scene last summer.

In the looming battle of the smartypants, however, Fox may have an advantage: Its quizzer is slated to bow in May, while ABC is not expected to roll out “Mastermind” until summer at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Fox told advertisers Tuesday that it’s also working on an alternative skein dubbed “Adrenaline Run.” A Fox Television Studios/Stu Segall Prods. effort, the show will mix actual footage of car chases with fictionalized accounts of the law enforcement officials who track down the speed demons who take up so much airtime on Los Angeles TV stations.

Show will also look at chases from the p.o.v. of a local news chopper pilot. Frank Lupo and Paul Stojanovich are exec producers.

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