Alphabet peeks at Tokyo’s ‘Diary’

Non-actors play roles in real-life romantic drama

This article corrected on September 4, 2001.The hit Japanese reality format “Future Diary” is headed to the U.S. via ABC.

Alphabet net has quietly completed production on six episodes of the non-fiction sudser, in which two non-actors are “cast” for specific roles in a real-life romantic drama. ABC is also considering ordering three more episodes of the project from DS Entertainment. and Tokyo Broadcasting System.

Format for “Future Diary” takes two potentially compatible singles and gives each a “diary” that outlines a rough idea of how their respective lives should unfold over a set course of time. At some point, the two players’ lives intersect, possibly setting up a romance.

“It tries to answer the question, ‘Can love be fostered?’ ” said one exec familiar with the format.

ABC reality guru Andrea Wong called “Future Diary” an idea that’s “very positive. … There’s nothing negative or mean about it.”

“It’s just a really unique storytelling device,” she said. “We thought it was a great idea and a great way of telling a story (about a relationship).”

Each of the story arcs in “Diary” will unfold over three to four weeks. The initial six-episode order includes two story arcs.

First round of segs is still being edited, but will be available to ABC shortly for broadcast sometime during the 2001-02 season.

“Diary” is not the first TBS format to make its way to the U.S. Japanese broadcaster Vin Di Bona, along with ABC, created “Kato-chan, ken-chan,” a forerunner to the Alphabet’s hugely successful, Di Bona-produced “America’s Funniest Home Videos” franchise.

Deal for “Diary” was packaged by William Morris.