HONG KONG — Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj is going to India to become a TV star.
Amritraj, chairman-CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment, will take on the Donald Trump role in new reality series “Gateway,” to be broadcast on PIX, a specialty movie net operated by Sony Entertainment Television.
Show will pitch 18 young filmmakers into a contest that aims to demystify the craft. During 13 one-hour episodes, Amritraj and a jury of industry experts will eliminate contenders. One will win an eight-week internship with Hyde Park Entertainment and a guarantee of a helming role on a Hyde Park-produced pic.
“Gateway” will be “different from ‘The Apprentice,’ as we don’t send them off to make a movie each week,” Amritraj said Tuesday. “Rather, we pull back the screen on how a movie is made. … This show is not about making crossover movies, rather it is about finding crossover talent. How many other shows offer the chance to direct a Hollywood movie right out of the gate?”
Amritraj hopes the show’s format will be licensed elsewhere.
Production will begin late October with first transmission skedded for Nov 4. Amritraj and SET did not detail budget or rights ownership, but described the skein as having a “sizable budget” for an English-language movie channel in India.
PIX’s business head Sunder Aron said the production costs would be matched by marketing expenditures. “This is a real Sony effort, involving the electronics and other divisions,” Aron said.
Hyde Park has a five-year movie deal with 20th Century Fox and another with Disney, but Amritraj said he pitched “Gateway” to Sony’s Indian offshoot, as PIX is a “boutique, cutting-edge channel that fitted with my ideal.”
His Chennai-based Hyde Park Asia has deals with Kerala-based Toonz Entertainment and Bollywood powerhouse Adlabs.