Endemol, Fox reality in harmony

'Soundmix' one of several formats sold

Endemol USA and Fox are singing the same tune, teaming with exec producer Paul Buccieri to bring the hit overseas musical format “Stars in Their Eyes” to the States.

Skein, which is being developed here under the working title “Soundmix,” is a mix of “Extreme Makeover” and MTV’s “Becoming” that allows ordinary folks to transform themselves into pop stars via detailed backdrops, elaborate costuming, extensive makeup and dance lessons.

Fox has ordered six episodes of the project, one of several new formats sold by David Goldberg-led Endemol USA in recent weeks:

  • Cabler FX has ordered six episodes of “The People’s Champions,” a skein in which everyday people make up their own crazy records and break them. “The presentation is very serious and dry, but the stunts are absurd and hysterical,” Goldberg said.

    Jeff Boggs is exec producing.

  • FX also has made a significant development commitment to Endemol for “Master Plan,” a format in which producers “find an individual whose life is in need of a change. And then we follow them 24/7 and let America decide what they should do,” Goldberg said.

    Decisions would revolve around significant life choices, such as changing girlfriends or jobs. “It’s sort of like we’re letting America make over someone’s life,” he added.

    Tom Forman is exec producing.

  • NBC is developing a pilot with Endemol for “The Odds,” a newly-created gameshow format in which contestants get the chance to compete against experts in certain fields, such as racecar drivers or martial arts.

    “Normally you wouldn’t have a chance against these people, but we let you buy handicaps that will help you compete,” Goldberg said. Hourlong skein pits three civilians against one another; whoever wins the most money at the end of the show wins.

    Forman is also exec producing “The Odds.”

‘Mix’-ing it up

As for “Soundmix,” which will be exec produced by Buccieri and John DeMol, format has worked for nearly a decade in the U.K. and elsewhere. Buena Vista developed the idea in the U.S. about five years ago as the syndie skein “Your Big Break.”

“This is about letting real people realize their dreams of becoming the stars they idolize,” Goldberg said. “We’re out there to find people that idolize Madonna and that can sing like Madonna. We give them the makeover so they look and dress like Madonna, while their performance has the splash of Madonna if she sang on the show earlier in her career.”

Five folks will compete each week, with one winner per episode advancing to a final round. Quintet of finalists will then square off in what might be a live finale, with the winner snagging a cash prize.

Network necessary

Syndie take on the idea didn’t hit, but Goldberg believes the concept can succeed on a network level.

“This show needs to be a big splashy production to work,” he said. Indeed, format has already worked well in 10 countries, with a total of 62 cumulative seasons produced.

Also key to the production will be “telling the back stories (of the contestants.) The show’s about that housewife from Des Moines who idolizes Madonna, and her transformation.”

Endemol is readying “Soundmix” so that it’ll be ready to air as early as late summer or early fall. Casting will begin this month, with sessions already skedded for June 21 and 22 in Gotham and June 27 and 28 in Los Angeles.

WMA reps Endemol, while Buccieri is repped by CAA and N.S. Bienstock reps Forman.

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