Real deals revealed

Fleiss rules 'Island'; ABC's 'Bachelor' back

Mike Fleiss is headed to “Gilligan’s Island,” while ABC has greenlit two more cycles of the producer’s top-rated Alphabet skein “The Bachelor.”

“The Bachelor” is ABC’s No. 1 show in adults 18-49, so it’s no shocker that the granddaddy of the modern dating reality show will return next fall. Nonetheless, ABC alternative topper Andrea Wong said the two-cycle commitment is meant to be a vote of confidence in the show, produced by Fleiss’ Telepictures-based Next Entertainment.

“This is the first time we’ve picked up two cycles at once,” she said. “It’s an incredibly valuable franchise for us. And Mike has done a great job by constantly reinvigorating the concept and keeping the casting fresh.”

Despite strong competish and no lead-in support, “The Bachelor” has survived almost as an island on ABC, regularly winning its 9 p.m. Wednesday timeslot.

“I’m looking forward to ‘The Bachelor’ being ABC’s No. 1 show for the fourth straight year,” Fleiss told Daily Variety.

“The Bachelor” continues to do business for ABC even though it’s the most-copied reality concept on TV, with all of the other five broadcast nets — as well as some cable outlets — having greenlit a “Bachelor” clone.

On the cable front, Fleiss has come on board to exec produce TBS’ reality version of “Gilligan’s Island” (Daily Variety, March 2). With Fleiss attached, TBS has also given the skein an extra vote of confidence, ordering up a second eight-episode season even before the first cycle starts production.

Show marks Fleiss’ first foray into cable, as well an example of sister companies helping each other out: Both TBS and Telepictures are part of the Time Warner family.

Fleiss said the idea of the show is what sold him. “I always liked this title as a (reality) concept, so when they came to me, I was like, ‘Hell, yeah.’ It’s a no-brainer.”

Fleiss said the skein — which will feature a real-life skipper, professor, movie star, millionaire and the rest — represents “a marriage of one of the most recognized comedies in TV history and the hottest genre in TV right now.”

More importantly, “I want to settle once and for all the age-old question: Ginger or Mary Ann,” CAA-repped Fleiss quipped.

Production on “Gilligan’s Island” will start in late summer for a premiere later this year. Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz are on board as exec producers as well.

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