101 buys rights to 'Calendar' special
NEW YORK — DirecTV’s the 101, a 24/7 original-entertainment network, will engineer the exclusive premiere of “Hooters Calendar Girls 2008,” a 60-minute reality special, on Nov. 15.Working from a $400,000 budget, the production started taping in March, traveling to various locations where Hooters had set up photo shoots for the calendar. In addition to behind-the-scenes taping of these calendar setups, said Josh Bleidt, an exec producer of the special, “we highlight the stories of a couple of the girls, showing them in a setting with their families and revealing the obstacles the girls had to overcome.” Bleidt said special could serve as the backdoor pilot to a reality series, featuring what he calls the “back stories” of women who become waitresses for one of the 385 Hooters restaurants dotted throughout the country. Bleidt said that a reality series wouldn’t run out of material because about 4,000 of the 20,000 waitresses who work for Hooters submit applications to become a calendar girl. And since Hooters began putting out the calendars in 1985, the show could go back in time in where-are-they-now segments, Bleidt said. He cited Lynne Austin, who went on to become a Playboy Playmate in 1986 and is now a radio personality in Tampa, and Holly Madison, who also became a Playboy cover girl and is now one of Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends, appearing on E!’s “The Girls Next Door” series. Bleidt’s co-exec producers are Marc Oswald, the country-music entrepreneur, and Gary Chapman, the indie producer and former country-music peformer.