Network gets real with 'Idol' producers

The CW is going a little bit country, teaming with the producers of “American Idol” for a dating reality skein dubbed “Farmer Wants a Wife.”

FremantleMedia North America is producing the project, which has been given an eight-episode order. It will air during the 2007-08 television season, with Cecile Frot-Coutaz and Super Delicious principals Adam Cohen, Cara Tapper and Joanna Vernetti serving as exec producers.

Based on a Fremantle format that first aired in 2001 on the UK’s ITV1, “Farmer” will recruit 10 women fed up with big city dating and introduce them to a country-fried bachelor who offers the promise of the simple life.

Women will compete for his attention via a series of challenges designed to test their adeptness at farm living (e.g., caring for farm animals, driving a tractor).

“It’s got a lot of humor in it,” CW prexy Dawn Ostroff told Daily Variety. “And I think it’s the right time to do another dating show with a spin on it. ‘Beauty and the Geek’ has a lot of humor in it, and this is in the same vein.”

FMNA chief creative officer Eugene Young said “Farmer” will celebrate what he called “the last of a dying breed.

“Farmers really are some of the last real American heroes, but it’s not a way of life for a lot of women,” he said. As a result, many farmers end up having trouble finding wives if they don’t hook up in high school.

CW is hoping “Farmer” will join its roster of reality hits, which includes “America’s Next Top Model,” “Beauty and the Geek” and the frosh success “Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll.”

Reality skeins, Ostroff said, “are a way for us to get a lot of attention, make a little noise and hopefully get some viewers.”

In addition to “American Idol,” FMNA’s current projects include “America’s Got Talent” and “Thank God You’re Here.”

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