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ABC greenlights ‘Newlyweds’

Blumenfield, Marsh exec producing show

ABC has greenlit production on “Here Come the Newlyweds,” a six-episode skein the producers are calling reality TV’s version of a romantic comedy.

Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh of the Jay and Tony Show (“Tourgasm”) are exec producing the tentatively titled skein, which pits seven recently hitched couples against each other in competition for an ever-escalating cash prize. Couples will engage in various challenges designed to test their relationships, with one husband and wife voted off each week.

AFN Prods. is producing in association with Warner Horizon Television.

Marsh said the idea for “Newlyweds” came from a desire to create a kinder, gentler unscripted skein.

“You see romantic comedies in the movies and in scripted TV but not in reality,” he said. “We wanted to do a competition that would feel more fun and light and stay away from the backstabbing elements that have crept into so many shows. There’s so much real comedy and insight and often poignancy when you really examine male-female relationships.”

That doesn’t mean “Newlyweds” will be all sweetness and light.

“I wouldn’t call it completely ‘feel good,’ ” said Blumenfield. “There’s tension in a marriage, and there’s a lot of humor that’s been mined over the years in the mundane arguments between a husband and a wife. But you won’t get that dirty feeling you sometimes get in reality TV.”

Skein will feature an assortment of couples, from high school sweethearts to an arranged marriage to a pair of divorcees who are starting their fourth marriages. Each episode will feature challenges in which all the couples compete together in order to boost the final cash prize, as well as competitions in which the teams of two compete against each other.

“All the competitions are designed to elicit the comic moments you have in every marriage,” Blumenfield said.

The Jay and Tony Show’s last ABC skein was “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” which never made it to the air because of the net’s concerns over reaction to the concept. Skein had neighbors awarding a house to outsiders.

Warners inked a multiyear overall deal with the Jay and Tony Show last year (Daily Variety, Oct. 26). Duo’s credits include “The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott,” “Family Business” and “Tuesday Night Book Club.”

Deal was brokered by CAA.

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