Alphabet brings back retro TV skein
ABC is reviving a 1950s reality chestnut, pacting with Fox TV Studios to produce a new version of “This Is Your Life.”FTVS veepee Mindy Moore (“The Family”) will exec produce, working with exec VP for alternative development Holly Jacobs. Fred Siegel, Jon Vein, Gary Edwards and Barbara Dunn-Leonard will also exec produce. No timetable for airing the project was revealed. Hosted and produced by Ralph Edwards, original “Life” aired on NBC for nine years in the 1950s and was designed by Edwards to be inspirational rather than voyeuristic. Given the Alphabet’s current feel-good formula for unscripted fare (“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”), net was a no-brainer to host the revival. “It was the right meeting of the minds,” Jacobs said, adding FTVS planned to keep the core of “Life” intact. “We’re going to be true to what was great about this show,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be (modernized). What’s great about the show is that it has an authenticity to it at a time when people are looking for things that are very authentic.” Along with “Candid Camera,” the original “Life” — which surprised both celebs and civilians by bringing back faces from their past — repped one of the medium’s early forays into reality television. Perhaps for competitive reasons, ABC and Fox TV Studios are keeping quiet about what changes, if any, will be made to the “Life” format. Jacobs even declined to say whether the new take would focus on celebrities, non-pros or both. Jacobs credited Moore with getting Fox TV Studios into the idea of bringing back a show like “This Is Your Life,” noting that “from the moment she joined us in January, this was on her mind.” Turns out that at the same time FTVS was mulling a “Life”-like skein, the Ralph Edwards group was meeting with high-level producers all over town about reviving the original franchise, Jacobs said. “We jumped into the competition with a vengeance,” he added. Fox TV Studios and the Edwards estate pacted to develop the WMA-packaged project jointly in July and began pitching nets earlier this month. After a four-year stint on radio, “Life” moved to TV in 1952, running as a half-hour weekly skein until 1961. Edwards revived the show for syndication twice, in the early 1970s and 1980s. AMC also aired repeats of the originals in the late 1980s.