Fox engages in ‘Marriage’

Granada Television to produce spec

Fox is dialing up a spinoff of its successful reality skein “Nanny 911,” ordering a special devoted to fixing marriages in crisis.

“Marriage 911” will look for couples in need of help and then send in a team of experts to help solve their problems, much as “Nanny” attempts to tame wild children. Granada Television, which produces “Nanny,” will produce the spec, which could become a series.

“It seems like a natural extension to the show,” said Fox reality guru Mike Darnell, who said the network is looking to build an entire “911” brand of skeins.

“We’re trying to take what seems to be a very successful television show for us and broaden out the brand name, much like ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Extreme Makeover,’ ” he said.

In addition to “Nanny 911,” Fox’s unscripted division has had a solid year, finding success with wife-swap skein “Trading Spouses” and age-defying megahit “American Idol.” The “Simple Life” franchise also continues to perform well for the network.

Darnell said “Marriage 911” sprung from the experiences he and the producers of “Nanny” had making that skein.

“A lot of time, the nanny will go into the home, and the problem isn’t with the kids but with the parents,” he said. “That gave us the idea of working with people who are having emergencies in their marriage.”

Fox plans to air the “Marriage” special sometime this season, most likely in “Nanny’s” new 8 p.m. Monday timeslot. If it’s a success, the project will be picked up to series for summer or next season.

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