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Trump, MTV head to charm school

Network orders eight episodes of reality show

Call it “My Fair Lady”-meets Oprah, done MTV-style.

MTV has given an eight-episode order to an hourlong series from Donald Trump’s Trump Prods. and RDF USA based on RDF’s hit U.K. format “Ladette to Lady.”

Series, still untitled for the U.S., will send 15 contempo young women to a boarding school environment where they’ll be coached in self-improvement and femme empowerment techniques, and then presented with a series of challenges.

Contestants who have trouble following the rules or exerting the effort to transform themselves will be “expelled.”

In the U.K., “Ladette to Lady” was a sizable hit in 2005 and 2006 for ITV. Trump and RDF USA originally set the project up at Fox Broadcasting Co. last year (Daily Variety, June 12).

Show is part of a broader push at MTV to develop “aspirational and inspirational” unscripted skeins portraying younger contestants in efforts to better themselves, rather than focusing on the peccadilloes of rock stars and socialites.

MTV has a similar project in the works from Jamie Foxx’s FoxxKing Entertainment banner, “From Gs to Gents,” which challenges a group of young guys to become cultured and mannered gentlemen. Another series in the works is “Exiled,” which will send the most spoiled participants in past MTV show “My Super Sweet 16” to remote parts of the world for a consciousness-raising experience aimed at opening their eyes to the struggles of the less fortunate.

Brian Graden, prexy of entertainment for MTV Networks’ music channels, said it’s a shift dictated by the tastes of the next wave of MTV teen and twentysomething viewers who are more socially minded than the “Jackass” generation of the recent past.

“We began to see in our research about three years ago that this next MTV generation is actually very empowered and highly functioning,” Graden said.

The MTV skein will be exec produced by Trump and Andy Litinsky of Trump Prods., RDF USA’s Coelen and Greg Goldman and Liz Bronstein (“Project Greenlight”). Mike Duffy of RDF USA will serve as co-exec producer. Casting and pre-production is already under way.

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