HOLLYWOOD — As if throwing a smackdown weren’t enough, UPN now plans to commit “Road Rage.”
The jockstrap weblet has picked up six hours of the reality skein “Road Rage,” a wrestling-meets-demolition derby contest from Mandalay Sports Entertainment and Scott Sternberg Prods.
Despite the still-uncertain longterm future of UPN, the “Road Rage” order comes as a sign that it’s still business as usual at the weblet as it prepares for midseason.
Recent comments by Viacom’s Sumner Redstone and News Corp.’s Peter Chernin have also helped increase the odds of UPN’s survival.
“Road Rage” pits two contestants against one another, as well as a cast of “road warriors,” who hurl sludge, oil and other obstacles. The contestants accrue points as they face off with demolition derby vehicles.
In the finale, the players team up with one of the road warriors — “The Soul Taker,” “Chainsaw,” “The Black Widow,” “Skull” and “Metal”– for an ultimate demolition derby face-off.
“If we’re trying to get in touch with the inner boy and reach our target audience, there’s nothing better than cars smacking into each other,” said UPN prexy/CEO Dean Valentine. “It marries demolition derby with great storytelling. Car freaks will particularly enjoy the show.”
“Road Rage” is being prepped for midseason and might land on Fridays if one of the night’s dramas doesn’t work.
The WCW’s Eric Bishoff serves as an executive producer, along with “Wonder Years” star Jason Hervey, David Salzberg, Kip Conwiser and Scott Sternberg.
UPN has also picked up the 2-hour special/backdoor pilot “Temptation Manor,” which follows three couples at a Fantasy Island-style resort as their devotion to one another is put to the test.
Contestants will swap partners and be tempted into hooking up with someone other than their significant others. Couples will then be asked whether they want to remain together or head off with someone else’s partner at the conclusion of the show. “Blind Date’s” David Garfinkle and Jay Renfro are behind “Temptation Manor,” which comes from Renegade Entertainment.
“The best kind of reality shows have relationships at their core,” Valentine said. “That’s what made ‘Survivor’ so compelling.”
The weblet also confirmed it has ordered the one-hour special “Getaway,” from “World’s Wildest Police Videos” exec producer Paul Stojanovich.
“Getaway” takes four cops and puts them to the test as they try to capture cars driven by race track and stunt drivers. Show could also serve as a backdoor pilot for a possible series.
Car chase nostaliga
Valentine said he wanted to bring the dramatic car chase — a staple of TV in the days of “Mannix” and “Baretta” — back to TV.
“There’s something viscerally exciting about a car chase,” he said. “We want to be the guys reintroducing that hallowed drama.”
Valentine said he’s targeting all three projects for midseason. Like all reality projects these days, “Road Rage,” “Temptation Manor” and “Getaway” could also be thought of as backups in case of an actors’ and writers’ strike next year.