CBS pumps up reality game plan

Network to offer several new quiz shows

CBS continues to pump up its alternative development, greenlighting a music-themed project from the producers of “Hairspray” and “Queer Eye” as well as an improv gameshow toplined by “Late Late Show” host Craig Ferguson.

Eye also has recruited Drew Carey to host its Michael Davies-produced quizzer “Power of 10.”

Developments are part of an ambitious slate of reality and gameshow projects being shepherded by reality guru Ghen Maynard.

Industry insiders said that between CBS and CW (whose development he also oversees), Maynard has nearly two dozen projects in the works.

Musical project is tentatively dubbed “Life as a Song” and is being produced by “Queer Eye’s” David Metzler and David Collins and Storyline’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron via their respective Scout and Storyline banners.

“Life” will give people who have major announcements to make or questions to ask the opportunity to do so via an elaborate song and dance number. It’s based on the tuner tradition of characters breaking into song when emotions become too strong for words.

Each half-hour seg will chronicle the backstory behind the person doing the singing, as well as show that person learning how to sing and dance.

Scout’s Metzler and Collins came up with the idea for “Life” and then recruited Zadan and Meron because of their decades of experience with musical productions.

Zadan and Meron in turn enlisted help from past collaborators, including “Footloose” writer Dean Pitchford. Scout has brought on Evan Weinstein to serve as co-exec producer.

“Life” reps the first foray into unscripted TV for Zadan and Meron, whose credits range from “Chicago” to “Cinderella.” Duo has wrapped production on ABC’s 2008 pic “Raisin in the Sun” and are finishing up the feature version of “Hairspray,” which opens July 20.

The Scout/Storyline collaboration is one of a slew of music-themed projects in the works at the nets.

Eye has been developing a take on “Name That Tune” as well as a version of the Dutch format “The Singing Office.” The status of those projects is unclear.

Fox and NBC also are working on tuner-type pilots (see story, page 7).

As for the Ferguson project, he’ll exec produce via his Green Mountain West shingle with Renegade 83’s David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe. David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants is also onboard as a producer, as is Ferguson’s production partner, Tracey Pakosta.

Dubbed “The Wizard,” potential skein is a half-hour gameshow that will use elements of improv and sketch comedy. Ferguson will host and serve as the Wizard, though CBS is keeping details of the format vague.

Renegade 83’s credits include “The 4400,” “Miracle Workers” and “The Surreal Life.”

Ferguson and Green Mountain West recently inked a two-year overall deal with CBS Paramount Network Television (Daily Variety, Dec. 12).

In addition to hosting “Late Late Show,” Ferguson’s debut novel, “Between the Bridge and the River,” was published last year.

Pilot for “The Wizard” is set to lense in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Ferguson’s old colleague Carey is set to return to series TV with “Power of 10” (Daily Variety, March 21). Gameshow is an original Embassy Row format, which borrows elements from “Family Feud.”

Exec producer Michael Davies worked with Carey when he was an exec at ABC during the days of “Whose Line Is It Anyway.” That skein also was hosted by Carey.

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