ABC to produce American version of British 'Survivor'-like celebrity reality TV show
By Reality TV World staff, 09/18/2002
Variety reports that ABC will spend 15 consecutive nights this midseason giving famous names who are used to the pampered life a dose of harsh reality. The network has picked up a domestic version of the hit British reality entry "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"
The show will take eight celebs -- entertainers, sports stars, newsmakers -- and drop them in a remote location, where they'll only be given rations of rice and water a la "Survivor." It will also boast an interactive element a la "American Idol." Viewers will vote on which celebrity each night must take part in a physical challenge to win food for the group; lowest-rated members will be kicked out. The contestants will ultimately play for a charity of their choice.
Because of the immediate voting, action will take place and be edited into a cohesive show in time for air the next day. In the British edition, which aired to strong ratings earlier this month, folks like psychic Uri Geller, socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, actor Darren Day and Christine Hamilton (wife of former member of Parliament Neil Hamilton) were stuck in the Australia jungle. For the U.S. version, which could be ready as soon as February sweeps, the producers will hunt for a broad mix of celebs and convince them to do it for the good of their charity.
"We're excited about the show because it has the two essential elements for a successful reality series," says Andrea Wong, senior vice president, Alternative Series and Specials for ABC, "great drama and compelling characters. You're seeing someone ripped from the headlines literally competing for their dinner."
"I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" was created by a team at Granada Factual, who will be making the series for ABC. Granada Factual senior executive Will Smith says: "We are thrilled to be making another reality series and look forward to working with ABC to cast their celebrities. The Network is giving us a fortnight to screen the show, and we're sure their viewers will find it riveting."
The deal was brokered by Granada's director of International Formats and Entertainment, Paul Jackson, and Greg Lipstone of William Morris Agency in the U.S. last week. Location, start of production date and airdates are to be determined.