Kids to rule reality on CBS

Show offers new take on 'Lord of the Flies'

CBS is ready to unleash a reality take on “Lord of the Flies,” quietly wrapping filming on a new skein in which a group of 8- to 15-year-olds will create their own society.

Tom Forman, showrunner on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” is behind the 13-episode project, tentatively titled “Kid Nation.”  

Eye is expected to unveil the show Wednesday at its upfront presentation. It’s unclear if “Kids’ Nation” will land on the fall sked, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it did. 

Project was originally pegged for a summer debut but was held for the 2007-08 season after CBS execs became excited about its breakout potential. Eye’s other reality staples — “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” — have been greenlit for two cycles and one cycle, respectively.

CBS reality guru Ghen Maynard has been feverishly working on nearly two dozen unscripted concepts for the Eye and cousin net the CW. 

With “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” both aging, execs at CBS have made finding the next big reality hit a huge priority. Effort begins in earnest later this month with “Pirate Master,” premiering on the same date “Survivor” originally bowed.

As for “Kid Nation,” skein will follow 40 kids for 40 days, observing them as they attempt to build a new society from scratch.

Rather than surviving on an island, the kiddies relocated to Bonanza City, N.M., a ghost town abandoned more than a century ago. Prodigal children live without parental supervision and modern comforts.

Goal for the kids is to build a functional society. They have to pass laws, choose leaders and build an economy. People familiar with the project said the kids may also be given choices between things they need (food and supplies) and things they want (think Nintendo Wii).

Unlike most reality shows, there will be no mandated eliminations. Kids can go home when they want to.

Rather than weekly exits, each seg will end with a feel-good moment in which one kid is selected by his peers to earn a major reward.

CBS brass have kept the project quiet in part out of fear that the idea of the project — kids living sans parents — could kick up a media frenzy and threaten production before it began. By wrapping the show before its announcement, net will now be able to show off clips and perhaps quash some pre-broadcast controversy.

Eye also wanted to avoid giving potential copycats too many details about the project, mindful of many past cases in which rivals have ripped off each other’s concepts.

“Kid Nation” is being produced via Tom Forman Prods. and Good TV Inc. Eye execs declined comment. Forman, who’s repped by CAA, inked a multiyear overall deal with CBS Par Network Television last year (Daily Variety, March 30, 2006).

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa - The

    'Walking Dead' Star Christian Serratos in Talks for Selena Series at Netflix

    Christian Serratos is in negotiations to star in the upcoming Netflix series based on the life of Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla, Variety has confirmed with sources. The series was announced back in December and is described as a coming of age story following Selena (Serratos) as her dreams come true and all the heart-wrenching [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: 'American Horror Story' Makes 'Suddenly Last Summer' Sizzle Again

    FX Network’s “American Horror Story” returns for a ninth season next month, and promos for the next chapter of the anticipated series, dubbed ‘AHS 1984,’ have been airing frequently across cable television throughout August. In the short yet effective spot (see below), the Motels’ melancholic, moody “Suddenly Last Summer” plays as aerial footage of an [...]

  • Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star

    Wanda Sykes, Mike Epps to Star in Multi-Camera Comedy Series for Netflix

    Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps are headed to Netflix. The streamer has ordered a multi-camera comedy series starring the two comedians titled “The Upshaws.” The series centers on a working-class Africian American family in Indiana struggling to make it work and make it right without the blueprints to do it. Sykes will executive produce and [...]

  • Vader Streams Shuts Down

    Vader Streams Shut Down by Hollywood Studios

    A coalition of Hollywood studios and streaming companies announced on Tuesday that they have shut down Vader Streams, which was once a popular source of pirated TV content. The service went offline in early May under mysterious circumstances, leading to speculation that the operator had either absconded or been forced out of business. The Alliance [...]

  • Søren-Sveistrup

    Netflix Teams With 'The Killing' Creator for Crime Thriller 'The Chestnut Man'

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Further expanding its Scandinavian footprint, Netflix has announced its second Danish original series, “The Chestnut Man,” a police thriller based on “The Killing” creator Søren Sveistrup’s popular novel. The streaming giant will team with Sveistrup’s SAM Productions, minority owned by Studiocanal, part of Vivendi Canal Plus Group, to deliver this noir-influenced literary [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    ICM Blasts Writers Guild Over Withdrawal of State Lawsuit

    ICM Partners has slammed the leaders of the Writers Guild of America over its decision to withdraw from its state court lawsuit in favor of refiling the action in federal court. The agency, which was sued in April by the guild and eight WGA members over charging allegedly illegal packaging fees, issued a statement Tuesday [...]

  • succession

    'Succession' Renewed for Season 3 at HBO

    “Succession” has scored an early Season 3 renewal at HBO. The news comes as the critically-acclaimed drama series is just two episodes into its second season. Season 1 of the series was recently nominated for five Emmy Awards, including for best drama series. “We are elated that ‘Succession’ and its exploration of wealth, power and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content