Skein searches for a crooner to step into an existing group
Reality titan Mark Burnett is getting ready to launch his own rock ‘n’ roll take on “American Idol” — and he’s recruited one of the Fox show’s top producers to help him do it.David Goffin, a three-year “American Idol” vet who most recently served as supervising producer of the hit Fox skein, has rejoined Mark Burnett Prods. He’s in line to exec produce the new music-based project, which is expected to be pitched to networks within the next week. Burnett’s last project sparked a four-net bidding war, making it highly likely Burnett and Riggs won’t have a problem finding a home for what they hope is their new sensation. Neither Burnett nor his business associate and production collaborator, Conrad Riggs, were talking Monday, but industry insiders said Burnett is readying an edgier version of “Idol” focusing on rock music. But rather than finding the next Fantasia or Clay, the Burnett skein will search for a crooner who could step in as the lead singer of an existing, internationally known rock group. News of Burnett’s next skein — and the hiring of Goffin — will no doubt be interpreted as the latest chapter in the producer’s cold war with Fox Broadcasting. Spat erupted after Fox decided to launch a boxing-related reality show after the net failed to land “The Contender,” the Burnett/Sylvester Stallone/Jeffrey Katzenberg boxing skein set up at NBC. “The Contender” camp has loudly protested Fox’s plans, all but accusing the net of stealing its format. Burnett has since made it clear in public comments that he won’t be suing Fox, but instead will pour all his efforts into producing a better show for NBC. Now, with the talent competish, Burnett seems ready to go after Fox’s crown jewel — and abandon his previous philosophy against treading in familiar waters. But while Burnett’s skein will be talent-focused, it’s expected to differ from “Idol” in several key ways. For one thing, public voting is unlikely to determine the winner of the competition. The existing band will play a key role (a la “The Apprentice”) — though viewers are likely to have some influence on the outcome. Skein is also expected to devote more time to storytelling, giving viewers a better shot at getting to know the aspiring stars. Switching the genre to rock will also result in a different type of show, since “Idol” tends to favor pop singers with more mainstream sensibilities — though this year’s winner, Fantasia Barrino, managed to transcend genres by singing a multitude of styles, include some rock. Burnett skein may also hold international auditions, giving the skein a global feel (and the chance to be sold internationally). It will likely culminate with the winner immediately going on tour with the existing band, following a live televised concert finale. Details of the skein could change depending on where the show lands. Before joining “Idol,” Goffin worked on Fox’s “Combat Missions” and “Eco-Challenge” skeins. He was a member of the production team nominated for an Emmy last year for their work on “Idol.” Both Goffin and Burnett are repped by CAA.
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