Web will get 2 backdoor pilots in addition to reality skein

Fox has snapped up the rights to a trio of Endemol USA formats, including a talent boot camp skein dubbed “Star Chamber” that’s a logical successor to summer smash “American Idol.”

While both the web and the supplier are reality titans known for out-there nonfiction series, deal reps the first time Fox and Endemol have partnered on any projects. Endemol already has successful skeins in place at CBS (“Big Brother 3″) and NBC (“Fear Factor,” “Spy TV”).

In addition to the tentatively titled “Star Chamber,” which has a series commitment from Fox, Endemol will supply the web with two one-hour episodes of the relationship format “All You Need Is Love” and an hourlong episode of the Endemol USA-created format “Exhausted.”

Latter two specs are being developed as backdoor pilots, with Fox reserving an option to turn either project into a weekly series.

“Star Chamber” is easily the biggest gun in Fox’s new Endemol- powered arsenal. Net has agreed to air up to 15 hours of the skein, which will be ready for broadcast as early as summer 2003.

“It’s basically a musical performance show that picks up where ‘American Idol’ leaves off,” Endemol USA prexy David Goldberg said. “The show is about the process of someone going from being a regular person to a performer.”

Another industry wag describes “Star Chamber” as “Fame” meets “Big Brother.” That’s because the finalists will all live and train together under one roof, with specialized coaches training them in everything from singing and choreography to public relations.

“It’s a talent show, yes, but there are also many more elements of a reality show in here than ‘Idol,’ ” said one insider familiar with the project.

Same and different

While “Star Chamber” is still in development, it’s expected one contestant will be eliminated each week via a formula that combines the opinions of viewers and the coaches. Format has already proven successful in other countries.

Goldberg said that while “Star Chamber” shares some of the same DNA as “Idol,” it’s ultimately “a very different show.”

“This is the reality version of ‘Fame,’ ” he said. “The key difference is that this show gives viewers a much better behind-the-scenes look at how stars are made as opposed to just seeing them perform.”

“Exhausted,” meanwhile, is best described as a sort-of “Fear Factor” meets a college cram session.

Skein, an original Endemol USA format, will take a group of contestants and “pre-exhaust” them, as one insider puts it. After staying awake for a predetermined amount of time — perhaps 24 or 48 hours — players will then be pitted against each other in various competitions, performing tasks that are far more difficult for a sleep-deprived individual.

“The show will come down to two people looking at a huge pot of money,” Goldberg said.

Jeff Boggs, who produces “Spy TV” for Endemol and NBC, is heading up production on “Exhausted.”

The tentatively titled “All You Need Is Love” is a Dutch format Goldberg describes as “a mondo relationship series.”

Though still in development for the U.S., “Love” will essentially combine elements of “every kind of relationship reality show you can think of,” according to one production insider.

“One segment might be like ‘Temptation Island,’ while others could be about surprise proposals or reunions of long-lost loves,” Goldberg said. Skein will mix both in-studio and field segments.

Both “Exhausted” and “Love” are expected to bow sometime during the 2002-03 seasons.

Quick success

Goldberg said he’s pleased at Endemol USA’s overall progress in the less than two years the company has been in business.

“Things are going extremely well,” he said. “We’re continuing to get formats from overseas and develop them. And we’re also adding our own execs and own producers.”

Exec said he’s also still looking for strategic partners and potential acquisitions to further beef up Endemol USA’s presence.

Endemol is repped by William Morris and Jeanne Newman.

Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0