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Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg's 'On the Lot' to premiere May 16


By Steve Rogers and Christopher Rocchio, 02/22/2007 

Fox has announced that On the Lot, Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg's new previously announced American Idol-like movie-making reality competition series, will premiere on Wednesday, May 16 at 8PM ET/PT.

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On the Lot's one-hour audition episode premiere will be followed by a special two-hour "film premiere" broadcast (the show's version of Idol's weekly performance shows) on Monday, May 28 at 8PM ET/PT.  After the "film premiere" broadcast lets home viewers see the first films produced by On the Lot's 16 finalists, viewers will vote for their favorites and four finalists will be eliminated during a Tuesday, May 29 at 8PM ET/PT broadcast of the show's first "box office" results show. 

On The Lot will then settle into a regular weekly schedule that will see it air one-hour "film premiere" episodes on Mondays at 9PM ET/PT and half-hour "box office" results shows on Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT beginning June 4 and 5.  Similar to Idol, On the Lot's "film premiere" presentations will occur in front of a live studio audience and still unannounced judging panel that will critique each week's films. 

Unlike Idol, On The Lot's finalists will -- ala contestants on Burnett's The Apprentice -- initially work in several teams, with one team member of each team selected as the team's film director and On The Lot viewers voting for their favorite film, not finalist.  The "box office" results show will then reveal which film received the fewest viewer votes, after which the the director of the least popular film will be eliminated and leave his or her team with one fewer person to produce the next week's film. (In addition to their teammates, the finalists will also have access to professional writers, cast and crew to help them produce their films.)   After the pool of finalists has been sufficiently whittled, the remaining finalists will begin to work individually on their own weekly short films.

In the end, On the Lot, created by Burnett, Spielberg (an unabashed reality fan) and DreamWorks Televsion (whose DreamWorks SKG parent was co-founded by Spielberg), will award  "the opportunity of a lifetime" -- a $1,000,000 DreamWorks development deal -- to whichever aspiring filmmaker wins the competition. 

According to a recent The Hollywood Reporter article, thousands of wannabe filmmakers have posted their short films through the show's online submission website.  Michelle McNulty, a casting director who also casts for Burnett's Survivor and The Contender reality series, told The Reporter that On the Lot conducted "an exhaustive worldwide search" for applicants who are 13 years of age or older.

"We need great personalities for the show and great filmmakers," co-executive producer Darryl Frank, who runs DreamWorks Television with Justin Falvey, told The Reporter.  "They have to be both." 

(Photo credit Fox)


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