'Bachelor' creator signs exclusive overall deal
“The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss has accepted Warner Bros.’ hefty, eight-figure rose.Fleiss just signed an exclusive overall deal with Warner Bros. TV and its Warner Horizon TV division, encompassing all development and production coming from Fleiss and his Next Entertainment banner. Deal makes Fleiss one of the highest-paid producers in the reality genre and extends his long-running relationship with Warner Bros. to at least a decade. “We’ve had so much success together, it seemed like the right thing to do,” Fleiss said. “They expect me to keep selling shows, and that’s what we’ve been doing for eight years. Despite the hard times in our business, you know the kind of shows we produce will continue to be produced.” Fleiss has been busy of late, with eight projects in various stages at the broadcast and cable nets. New series include CBS’ “There Goes the Neighborhood,” a reality/competition skein in which families vie with their neighbors for a large prize. The producer is also behind the CW’s “Hitched or Ditched,” a relationship skein he’s producing with RDF USA that follows couples as they go through the motions of planning their wedding — and then decide whether to say “I do” for real. And Fleiss is also producing TV Land’s “The Cougar,” a dating show in which young men compete for the love of an older woman. At Oxygen, Fleiss is prepping a project that stars boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley and his wife Jin; and at E! Entertainment, he’s got a skein in the works starring “The Bachelor” season 12 winner Shayne Lamas (who’s also the daughter of Lorenzo Lamas). The 13th season of “The Bachelor” is set to bow Jan. 5 on ABC, while the fifth edition of spinoff “The Bachelorette” is in the works for midseason at the Alphabet net. TV Land plans to air a fifth edition of Fleiss’ “High School Reunion” in 2009. Fleiss started devoting more attention to the feature world a few years ago, producing films such as “Poseidon” for Warner Bros. and the “Hostel” movies. Fleiss also produced the 2003 remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Fleiss’ return to the reality fold coincided with his move to UTA and his reunion with former agent Michael Camacho, who recently resigned his former client. Since then, Fleiss has once again turned his attention to nonscripted TV, having recently sold four projects. “I wanted to get both feet into the feature game. It’s a great business,” Fleiss said. “But reality is what I do. I’m a TV creature at heart, and I’m fired up to make more original TV.” Fleiss pointed out that Next originates its own material and isn’t in the business of adapting foreign formats. The producer has been based at Warner Bros. since 2000. His other credits include “Are You Hot,” “Breaking the Magicians’ Code,” “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” “Trista and Ryan’s Wedding” and “The Real Gilligan’s Island.” Fleiss’ relationship with Warners even extends to his own neighborhood. Warner Bros. TV prexy Peter Roth lives next door to the producer. “I keep trying to get him to carpool with me, but he’s reluctant,” Fleiss quipped. Roth called Fleiss “one of the most accomplished producers of reality programming in the history of the industry.” Next up, Fleiss hopes to expand into the scripted series business, having gotten his feet wet on the feature side. “In working in all the movies we’ve made, I’ve gotten to know some of the writers community,” Fleiss said. “The next logical step would be to do some scripted shows.”
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