Net to announce pact for unscripted skein at upfront
Mark Burnett is another step closer to his goal of landing a show on every one of the Big Six nets.
The WB has made a blind series commitment to an unscripted series from the man behind “Survivor” (CBS), “The Apprentice” (NBC) and “The Casino” (Fox). Burnett’s WB sitcom “Commando Nanny” has already been ordered for fall, while drama pilot “Global Frequency” will be shot over the summer.
Frog execs plan to announce the deal for the reality show — along with the official laffer pickup — at their upfront presentation to advertisers Tuesday.
WB chief exec Jordan Levin said he and Frog chairman Garth Ancier have been working for some time to land a Burnett reality skein; word started leaking out about a deal last week (Daily Variety, May 14).
“This is a relationship we’ve cultivated over a number of years,” he said, admitting he was “a bit star-struck” when he met Burnett after the first “Survivor” bowed. Ancier, meanwhile, developed a space race project with Burnett when Ancier was at NBC.
“We’re going to work together to find a franchise idea for a reality show that could become a permanent fixture on our schedule,” Levin added. “It’s a strong play for us to be in business with Mark Burnett as we play catch-up in a genre we ignored too long.”
The WB also has multiple projects in the works with “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss as well as a series commitment to what Levin called “a top-secret Bruce Nash” reality series.
Burnett said he’s known Ancier and Levin “for ages” and that when they asked him to develop a reality skein, he didn’t hesitate. “They have a younger audience, and I’m interested in trying to develop something that (skews) younger,” Burnett said.
Levin said he was happy to give Burnett his first series commitment for a scripted show (a pilot Burnett co-produced last year didn’t get on the air).
“A good producer is a good producer, no matter what genre it is,” Levin said of the CAA-repped Burnett.