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CBS to air four summer reality shows, including 'Big Brother', 'Rock Star', and 'The Cut'

By Reality TV World staff, 05/09/2005 

CBS has announced that it will air four realty series as part of its Summer 2005 programming schedule, the network's most aggressive summer schedule since it first launched the present American network television reality TV era with its Summer 2000 debuts of Survivor and Big Brother. In additional to the sixth edition of its annual three-night-a-week Big Brother reality series, CBS will also air reality uber-producer Mark Burnett's new Rock Star: INXS series on a thrice-weekly schedule, plus weekly broadcasts of Tommy Hilfiger's Project Runway-like The Cut series and Fire Me... Please.

Kicking off CBS's reality-filled summer programming schedule will be Fire Me... Please, a new four-episode hidden camera reality series that will premiere Tuesday, June 7 at 9PM ET/PT. As the title suggests, Fire Me will feature two contestants who have started new jobs on the same day, however, unbeknownst to their new employers, they are actually competing to get intentionally fired by 3:00PM on their first day. The contestant who gets fired the closest to, but not past, the 3:00PM deadline wins a $25,000 cash prize.

Like most of the wackiest reality concepts, Fire Me is an American adaptation of a previous United Kingdom series -- in this case, Sack Race, a British reality show produced by the BBC. Produced by LMNO Productions and Magic Molehill Productions in association with BBC Worldwide, Fire Me... Please is executive produced by LMNO's Eric Schotz and Bill Paolantonio and the BBC's Colin Davis and Robin Meltzer.

While LMNO has had some success with its Discovery Health Channel and Lifetime docu-reality programs (Babies: Special Delivery, Final Justice with Erin Brockovich, Impact: Stories of Survival), it has a rather poor track record in the reality competition format space (Wickedly Perfect, The Littlest Groom, Race To The Altar, Boot Camp.)

Debuting two days later on Thursday, June 9 with a special 90-minute premiere in Survivor's 8PM ET/PT time period will be The Cut. First announced last summer and hosted by Tommy Hilfiger (who's teenage daughter Ally starred in MTV's 2003 Rich Girls reality series), The Cut will feature sixteen style-savvy contestants competing for the opportunity to design his or her own collection under the Tommy Hilfiger label.

Produced by Lions Gate Television in association with Pilgrim Films and Television, The Cut is executive produced by Craig Piligian and Peter Connolly and co-executive produced by Darren Maddern and Eli Frankel.

The Cut will air its first four episodes in the Thursday 8PM ET/PT time period, after which it will be relocated to an as of yet undisclosed time period in order to make way for the July premiere of the tentpole of CBS's summer reality programming lineup -- Big Brother 6.

The sixth edition of CBS's Big Brother will premiere on Thursday, July 7 at 8PM ET/PT, with the thrice-weekly show also airing on Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT and Saturdays at 8PM ET/PT. As in previous years, the newly married Julie Chen will host the Thursday broadcasts that will feature the live eviction of one of the houseguests.

Like other recent editions, Big Brother 6 will feature several changes and twists intended to keep the show fresh. Although CBS isn't yet revealing the details of most of those changes, they couldn't keep one very obvious change secret -- the fact that shortly after last summer's Big Brother 5 concluded, the network demolished the increasingly-stale CBS backlot building that had served as the Big Brother house for the show's first five seasons.

With a new CBS office building having been constructed on the Big Brother house's old location, Big Brother 6 will feature a new two-story house constructed on the site of Yes, Dear's former studio space. While the new loft-like layout will open up new production possibilities, the house will still have a backyard and include a pool that's nearly twice as big as that of the old house.

"We've had a chance to improve on the whole layout," executive producer Arnold Shapiro told Daily Variety. "Our cameras will be able to get real aerial shots. It will definitely look and feel different, maybe a little more like a loft space," added executive producer Allison Grodner.

As it has since Big Brother 2, Big Brother 6 will be produced by Arnold Shapiro & Allison Grodner Productions, in association with Endemol U.S.A.

Capping off CBS's summer reality premieres will be Rock Star: INXS, the new American Idol-like INXS lead singer search that will mark Survivor and The Apprentice producer Mark Burnett's first new CBS series since Survivor debuted five years ago. And as it was during the initial Summer 2000 premieres of Big Brother and Survivor, Big Brother is the series that CBS is expecting bigger things from, with the network intending (as it did with last summer's The Amazing Race 5) to use the post-Big Brother Tuesday 10PM ET/PT time period to help drive viewers to Rock Star.

While Rock Star: INXS will debut with a special hour-long broadcast on Monday, July 11 in the more highly-viewed 9PM ET/PT time period and, like Big Brother, also air thrice-weekly, the heart of the show will be its hour-long performance episodes that will air Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT following Big Brother

In addition to its hour-long Tuesday broadcasts, Rock Star will air half-hour episodes on Mondays at 9:30PM ET/PT beginning July 18 and Wednesdays at 9:30PM ET/PT beginning July 20.

Despite the fact that Rock Star will feature the reunion of Burnett and David Goffin, who spent the last three years as supervising producer of Fox's American Idol after working on Burnett's Eco-Challenge and Combat Missions shows, Goffin (who will serve as one of Rock Star's executive producers) says that the CBS show will fundamentally different than the Fox reality talent competition show.

"It cares about story, character and rock 'n' roll," he told Daily Variety. while also noting that the show has licensed songs from big rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, the Killers and R.E.M.

While the format of the show's initial casting episodes is unclear, according to CBS, each Monday broadcast will feature taped segments focusing on the contestants activities in the Hollywood Hills house in which they will reside, and the Wednesday broadcast featuring the results of the Tuesday night performance broadcasts.

As indicated by the INXS subtitle, if successful, future Rock Star editions can be expected. "It is... a program that fits with CBSs philosophy to target and nurture reality shows that have franchise potential that can play a meaningful long-term role on our schedule," stated CBS Entertainment president Nancy Tellem in the network's June 2004 announcement of the series.

Produced by Mark Burnett Productions. Rock Star: INXS will be executive produced by Mark Burnett, David Goffin and INXS managers David Edwards and Michael Murchison, with Conrad Riggs serving as co-executive producer.

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