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CBS orders Magical Elves-produced 'Arranged Marriage' reality series


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/02/2009 

Magical Elves has apparently gone from sending designs down the runway to strangers down the aisle.

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CBS has ordered Arranged Marriage, a new reality series from former Project Runway producers Jane Lipsitz, Dan Cutforth and their Magical Elves production company, The Hollywood Reporter reported Monday.

The tentatively-titled series will reportedly feature four people between the ages of 25 and 45 who are eager to wed but have previously been unsuccessful in finding a soul mate.  So instead of choosing their own romantic partner, their friends and family members will select a spouse for them.

The newly-formed couple will then exchange marital vows and the series will follow marriages, according to The Reporter, which added additional details about the project are not being revealed yet.

In May, Cutforth and Lipsitz confirmed they would not follow Project Runway to Lifetime after Lifetime Networks and The Weinstein Company agreed in April to an unexpected five-year deal to grab Project Runway from Bravo. 

Although they denied there was any connection between the two announcements, Cutforth and Lipsitz's Runway confirmation came on the same day that Bravo's NBC Universal parent company announced it had signed an exclusive first-look development deal with Magical Elves -- which means that NBC Universal must passed on ordering Arranged Marriage for one of its own networks before Magical Elves could offer the series to CBS.

In addition to Bravo and its flagship NBC broadcast network, NBC Universal's other networks also include USA Network, Sci Fi Channel and Oxygen.

Arranged Marriage is likely to invoke comparisons to Married in America, a Spring 2003 Fox reality series that followed five couples who were paired by home-viewer voting and then sequestered in a hotel to learn more about each other.

The series premiered to lukewarm ratings and raised the ire of the FCC after a bachelor party scene contained pixilated nudity.  The FCC subsequently gave Fox stations a $1.18 million fine, which was recently reduced to $91,000.

In the end, none of the Married by America couples actually tied the knot.

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