The WB is planning a sort of unscripted version of “Rich Man, Poor Man.”
Six-episode series dubbed “Survival of the Richest” will take seven super-wealthy youngsters — who come from clans with a collective net worth of $3 billion — and pair them with seven average Joes and Janes with a collective debt of $150,000. They’ll then live and work together for a number of weeks, competing in challenges designed to illuminate the differences between the classes.
Among the wealthy offspring participating, according to WB Entertainment prexy David Janollari, is Kat Moon, daughter of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
One team of rich and poor will be voted off each week, with the winning team sharing $200,000. Frog, which plans to unveil the skein today at its portion of the winter TV Critics Assn. press tour, will air the show this summer.
RDF Media (“Wife Swap”) pitched the concept to the WB, which brought in FremantleMedia-based producer Stuart Krasnow (“Average Joe”) to serve as showrunner. Joe Houlihan and Zad Rogers also will exec produce while Kevin Williams will produce the RDF-Fremantle co-production.
Skein, hosted by Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk”), was quietly filmed last fall.
The show “makes noise. It’s not gentle. It’s not politically correct,” Janollari told Daily Variety. “I think it’s going to be really explosive and illuminate the way they live (vs.) the way most of us live.”
Exec also said “Survival of the Richest” will have a lot of humor in the vein of ‘Beauty and the Geek,” the hit Frog reality skein that last week returned to its best-ever ratings.
Cast features blue-collar types from all walks of life and various ethnic groups. Janollari also promised “an amazing array of super-rich people. They’re all larger-than-life characters. They say things and interact with people in a way that makes your jaw drop.”
Among the challenges for the teams: working as waiters at Medieval Times, picking peppers in the desert heat and surviving military boot camp.
While the blue-collar contestants are driven by the desire to win cash, Janollari was blunt about why the wealthy offspring wanted to do the show.
“They’re in it for fame,” he said. “That’s something their money can’t buy.”