New reality skein offers own 'Da Vinci Code'
NBC is readying an unscripted skein that will let everyday people search for their own “National Treasure” by cracking the Peacock’s version of “The Da Vinci Code.”Net has pacted with “Project Runway”/”Project Greenlight” producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz for “Treasure Hunters,” an ambitious hourlong reality skein that will send multiplayer teams on a global quest to unlock the secrets of an intricate puzzle. Each clue will unlock another part of the mystery. Whichever teams puts all the clues together first will discover the location of an undisclosed treasure. NBC has ordered at least 10 episodes of the show, with casting set to begin immediately; skein could be on the air as early as late August. “It’s inspired by the success of books like ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ ” said NBC U cable entertainment and cross-network strategy prexy Jeff Gaspin, who might have also pointed out a similarity to Jerry Bruckheimer’s feature smash “National Treasure.” “We’ll use iconic locations, with a mixture of real history and folklore along with our own fantasy elements we use to create this puzzle,” he added. While elements of “The Amazing Race” also seem evident, Gaspin said “Treasure Hunters” will differ from CBS’ reality hit because of one key element. “As opposed to focusing on the race, the show will focus on solving the puzzle,” he said. “The challenge will come as they try to put the puzzle together.” And don’t expect the clues to be mere brainteasers. “It’s vital to have a puzzle with complexity, so that in addition to their own brainpower, contestants will have to use the Internet and library as resources for research,” Gaspin added. Viewers, too, might also use the Net to get involved in the show. “There will be a component for the Internet,” he said. Cutforth and Lipsitz will exec produce via their Magical Elves shingle. Duo have become one of Gaspin’s more important production teams, showrunning Bravo’s hit “Project Runway” as well as the cabler’s upcoming “Project Greenlight.” They also worked on the third cycle of “Last Comic Standing.”