David Arquette is looking to put his recent tabloid experiences to good use on the small screen.
Arquette has partnered with Merv Griffin Entertainment to develop “Ranking the Stars,” a celebrity gamer based on a Japanese format. Arquette will host, with Merv Griffin prexy Roy Bank on board as exec producer.
“Ranking the Stars” takes a group of well-known panelists and asks them to rank one another on a given topic, from most likely to least likely.
Show requires celebrities to be self-deprecating as they’re forced to admit whether they think they’d be more or less prone to do something embarrassing — such as secretly informing the paparazzi on their whereabouts or making a sex tape — than the celeb sitting next to them.
Bank likens the show to the old celeb panel games like “Hollywood Squares” and “Match Game,” but with the attitude of a roast. Seven celebs will take part in each episode, which Bank envisions as a weekly primetime series.
“This show is all about celebrities hanging out for a bit and taking their guard down,” Bank said. “David’s whole persona is that. His honesty has bled through and it’s come back to haunt him a few times. If there was every a celebrity with a brand that matches the show, it’s this.”
“Ranking the Stars” is based on an Asahi TV format that has already been turned into a series in the Netherlands, Korea, India and elsewhere. Bank said he optioned the format a while back but had been waiting on the right talent.
That’s where Arquette got interested. Thesp noted that his grandfather, Cliff Arquette, was a regular on many of those old Hollywood panel shows, playing the character Charley Weaver.
“A lot of my humor is from a self-deprecating place anyway,” said Arquette, whose regular guest spots on the Howard Stern radio show can sometimes be cringe-inducing in their honesty, including his take on his recent separation from wife Courteney Cox. “My flaws are what make me funny, and I have no problem letting people poke fun at that.”
Bank said he’d ideally like to theme each episode so that the celeb panel already has a pre-existing relationship — such as former sitcom castmates or the Kardashian family. “The more they know each other, the funnier it will be,” Bank said.
Celebs will play for charity, while civilian contestants will win or lose by guessing how the panelists will rank themselves on a question.
Arquette will serve as a creative consultant on the show but will not be an executive producer.
Arquette and Cox continue to jointly run Coquette Prods., home of ABC laffer “Cougar Town.” Coquette won’t be involved in “Ranking the Stars,” the result of a joint decision by Merv Griffin Entertainment, Arquette and Cox.
Bank and Arquette will pitch “Ranking” after the holidays.