Sony, Burnett to visit ‘Fantasy Island’

Duo to turn classic show into reality series

Smiles, everyone, smiles: Sony Pictures TV and Mark Burnett are partnering to turn “Fantasy Island” into a reality series.

Sony and Burnett announced the show Monday at the Mipcom confab in Cannes.

The producers are in talks now with several different resorts in locales across the globe in order to find a setting for the show. Selection of the home base for the new “Fantasy Island” will depend on which tie-in deal can ultimately be struck.

The original, iconic late 1970s/early ‘80s series starred Ricardo Montalban as the mystical Mr. Roarke — who made island visitors’ dreams come true. The new reality version will follow 12 contestants as they compete to become the real-life Mr. or Ms. Roarke.

To do so, the players will be tasked with making others’ dreams come true as guests arrive on a weekly basis. As on the fictional “Fantasy Island,” the guests will come to the show with emotion-driven fantasies — such as a dream wedding or a chance at reuniting with a lost love.

The guests will then be asked to rate the budding Mr./Ms. Roarkes — and one contestant will be banished from the game each week.

“Fantasy Island” has “all of the elements of a hit series,” Burnett said. “An exotic location, dream fulfillment, competition and, most of all, emotional storytelling.”

Sony and Burnett have not yet sealed a deal with a U.S. network but will begin shopping the show immediately both domestically and to international territories.

Show reps the second attempt at reviving the “Fantasy Island” franchise. ABC aired a remake of the series in 1998, with Malcolm McDowell taking over the role of Mr. Roarke. But the new version, which had a much darker tone than the blue-sky original, didn’t last long.

Burnett and Sony are also teamed on the ABC reality series “Shark Tank.”

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