Show aims for diverse, multigenerational group of stars
The WB has ordered six episodes of reality skein “The Surreal World,” which will follow eight pop-culture figures as they room and work together in the San Fernando Valley.
Brass Ring Prods. has teamed with Mindless Entertainment to produce the series, which the Frog hopes to fast-track for a September airdate. About 40 celebs (think the likes of Mr. T) have been approached to move into a house and have their lives taped 24/7 a la “The Real World.”
The half-hour skein was also inspired by a recent series of Lipton Sizzle & Stir TV blurbs that featured mismatched celebs (such as George Hamilton, Sally Jessy Raphael and Little Richard) playing themselves but living and cooking as a family unit.
“Our intent is to make the show feel like you’re really watching a sitcom,” Mindless’ Mark Cronin said. “Every episode there will be some story, very likely some activity or event that occurs in the house. It could be created by us, such as there’s no dinner in the fridge, so they’ve got to go fishing.”
Cronin, who will exec produce with Brass Ring’s Rick Telles and Cris Abrego, said the production has approached musicians, former sitcom stars and one-time pop idols.
The eight stars will live in the house for two straight weeks. They won’t be locked in like the cast of “Big Brother,” but it will be understood that they must reside at the home and interact with their new TV family.
WB senior vice president of alternative programming Keith Cox said the show will shoot for a diverse, multigenerational group that should surely lead to some conflict.
“We’re leaning toward the humor, the fun pop-culture aspect, but I’m sure we’ll have some dramatic surprises as well,” Cox said. “It’s amazing the response we got. There’s no shortage of interest. Our goal is to see if this is a franchise. If this works well, the concept can keep going with all sorts of different celebrities.”
Brass Ring’s Telles and Abrego started out in the Bunim-Murray (“The Real World”) camp, producing skeins such as “Road Rules” and “Making the Band.” The duo’s credits also include USA’s “Cannonball Run 2001: Race Across America” and MTV’s “Fear.”
Cronin began as a writer for Howard Stern. He recently produced FX’s “The X Show”; his Mindless shingle is behind Comedy Central’s “Beat the Geeks.”
“The Surreal World” was packaged by UTA, which reps Mindless and Brass Ring.