Syndies getting real feel
Buena Vista and ABC network both toying with The Last Resort for 2002
By Susanne Ault -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/22/2001 8:00:00 PM
Buena Vista is looking at launching the reality series The Last Resort, where feuding couples are shipped off to an island to decide whether to stay together or break up. Also, insiders say Paramount, currently cooking up Dr. Phil, is aiming to bring an existing MTV series into the weekly syndication market.
And Twentieth is apparently toying with at least four projects to test launch in August—a new one that just popped up is the talk strip All About You, starring past Saturday Night Live comic Kevin Meaney. Studio spinmeisters declined comment on their development projects.
ABC Daytime is also said to be eyeing The Last Resort, produced by The Other Half's creative team, Fisher Entertainment and Wheeler/Sussman productions, as a daily network daytime series. In that scenario, The Last Resort could land on ABC stations sooner than 2002, and Buena Vista would not roll out a concurrent syndicated version.
Is The Last Resort a Disneyized version of Temptation Island? A source, not surprisingly, declared, "Absolutely not. There's nothing in common. There will be four couples on the rocks, but they won't be tempted at all" by attractive third parties, as is the case in Fox's reality series.
Instead, trained therapists would be present to help couples work out their problems.
Over at Paramount, which is producing Dr. Phil (with King World distributing it), the planned MTV/ syndication crossover "is the synergistic thing to do," said one source.
It wouldn't be the first time an MTV series has landed in syndication: October Moon handles repeats of The Real World, which has been offered for resale. But the project would be the first time Paramount has come on board to dual-platform an MTV project—likely a music-related show.
Hoping to duplicate its successful test launch of Texas Justice, Twentieth is deciding between two projects headed by Los Angeles news personality Jillian Barberie, for small-scaled summer debuts. The same goes for State of Mind, a Crossing Over With John Edward ish talk show, headlined by a psychic, numerologist and an astrologist. Also high on Twentieth's list are vehicles for Rob Nelson, previously with Fox News Channel, and ex-basketball star John Salley.
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