Competition show to foster epic achievements by regular Joes
Dwayne Johnson has found his next action role: on TV.The actor and his producing partner Dany Garcia have paired up with Ben Silverman’s Electus Entertainment on “The Hero,” a competition show that heavily integrates social media to discover the next great hero. In the series, three teams of ordinary people are sent on a high-stakes global adventure across three continents to prove what they are able to overcome, sacrifice and undergo for the strength of their groups. Johnson, who will next be seen in Paramount’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” won’t host the show. Instead, he’ll appear in various incarnations during episodes to push the contestants beyond their personal limits and prove that a true hero is defined by far more than just physical strength and power. “While Dwayne’s physical stature is unmatched, it is his uncompromising moral character and humanity that proves what an inspirational hero he is,” said Silverman, founder and chairman of Electus. Johnson also will promote the show throughout social-media platforms and use those tools during every facet of the show’s development from pre-production and casting to location shoots and live broadcasts. “‘The Hero’ will bridge the digital and physical world on the small screen in an unmatched fashion, enabling fans to determine the fate of the show’s contestants entirely through social media and onscreen decisionmaking,” Johnson said. The thesp has aggressively promoted his own social media presence since returning to the WWE last year that lead up to him headlining “WrestleMania 28,” in Miami on April 1. Johnson currently boasts more than 9.1 million fans on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and consistently grows his fanbase with 28,000 new followers per day on both Twitter and Facebook. Electus was eager to tap into Johnson’s social media appeal, especially as it looks to reinvent the competition show format through social media the way Silverman repackaged gameshow “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” with interactive elements like letting contestants phone a friend, or turning “Big Brother” and “Fashion Star” into multichannel properties, with the latter also taking advantage of e-commerce opportunities. “The Hero is a series designed to redefine what is possible in unscripted television,” said Rick Ringbakk, creator and executive producer of “The Hero.” “It has incredible scale, but at its core it’s about testing the limits of real people and real relationships. Dwayne Johnson is emblematic of what it means to ‘be more than you can be’, and to be a hero.” The production shingle said the show was inspired by recent headlines of ordinary people who have performed heroic tasks in extraordinary situations, such as Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed a US Airways jet in the Hudson River off New York City after the engines failed. Given Silverman’s background with integrating brands into shows like “The Office,” “The Biggest Loser” and more recently “Fashion Star,” “The Hero” also will provide marketers with high-profile opportunities to promote their products. Which brands are chosen will depend upon the network that picks up the project. “Fashion Star,” airing on NBC now, features reps from Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M. Silverman will unveil “The Hero” during a panel discussion today at the National Assn of Broadcasters confab in Las Vegas before shopping it to networks. “The Hero” was created by Craig Armstrong and Rick Ringbakk of 5×5 Media, behind “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” and “Fashion Star” and two forthcoming series, “King of the Nerds,” for TBS, and “Car Lot Cowboy,” for Spike TV), along with Charles Wachter (“Fashion Star,” “Food Revolution”), and Silverman. Electus’ Silverman, Chris Grant and Jimmy Fox will exec produce the project with 5×5 Media, Wachter, Johnson and Garcia. Electus Intl., Electus’ global distribution arm, will retain all international distribution rights. Johnson is repped by WME.