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TV tunes in ‘Dummies’

How-to books adapted for small screen

A. Smith & Co. is looking to produce television “For Dummies.”

The “Hell’s Kitchen” producer has inked an overall production pact with John Wiley & Sons, the publisher behind the “For Dummies” brand of how-to manuals. Two companies will work together to develop series programming tied to the franchise.

Deal reps the first time A. Smith, headed by Arthur Smith and Kent Weed, has teamed with a publisher.

Plans are already in the works for a number of different potential “Dummies” skeins, from gameshows to a magazine, Smith said.

Smith and Wiley & Sons have plenty of potential content: There are more than 1,000 “Dummies” titles, with better than 150 million copies of the franchise in print.

“Whatever topic you can think of, there’s a ‘Dummies’ book for it,” Smith told Daily Variety. “There’s such a plethora of information, and these are books — not pamphlets.”

Smith and Weed first began exploring the idea of a “Dummies” partnership several months ago. “We met with them at the Licensing Show in New York after Mark Itkin at William Morris set us up,” he said.

Weed said he and Smith will try to create programming that emulates the tone of the book series. “Our goal is to bring relatable information to the small screen in a manner that will be both educational and entertaining at the same time,” he said.

Deal with Wiley calls for A. Smith to work closely with the publisher to develop ideas. “We’re not just licensing the name,” Smith said.

Stephen Kippur, Wiley’s exec VP, said the company views the deal with A. Smith as “a great opportunity to introduce a variety of our top categories and potentially gain a whole new generation of series fans.”

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