'The Bachelor' creator and ABC announce new 'The Will' inheritance reality show
By Reality TV World staff, 10/26/2002
Zap2It.com reports that ABC has ordered a new unscripted show called "The Will" from producer Mike Fleiss, the man behind the network's hit "The Bachelor." On the new show, a wealthy (still living) benefactor will offer up his or her estate to family members. But instead of tedious probate-court hearings, the potential heirs will compete for the goods and have the chance to vote others out. Family members and friends who take part in the series will also be put through a series of weekly competitions, in which the players will vie for a shot at some smaller portion of the benefactor's estate -- the BMW or the vacation house.
"This should give viewers a unique look at a real American family," Fleiss says. "The vote-outs between relatives should be intense." Details of the game will be tailored to suit the family chosen for the game, and the benefactor will have some input in designing the challenges for his or her family. They could include competitions for incremental rewards from the benefactor's estate as well as chances for would-be heirs to prove their worthiness.
Applications for "The Will" are currently being taken at thewilltv.com. The show is set to air on the ABC Television Network in 2003.
"Family members who have a lifetime worth of baggage will be voting each other out," Fleiss said. "It's much more interesting than a bunch of strangers doing it to each other." Fleiss said competitions will range from trivia tests to endurance challenges. "There will also be competitions in which the 'Willy Wonka' factor will be measured," he said. "The benefactor will be able to test their worthiness."
Most of the inheritance will likely be paid out upon the mogul's death, though Fleiss is planning to incorporate elements that will allow the winner to get some "immediate gratification" upon winning the competition. The goal is to have all the money and prizes supplied by the benefactor, but it's possible ABC could sweeten the pot.
The final decision as to who gets the loot won't be made by the benefactor, however; that will be determined by who wins of the final challenge. "It's more a pure game that way," Fleiss said.
Recently ABC entered into a multi-year, wide-ranging deal with Fleiss, his production company, Next Entertainment, and Telepictures Productions. The deal calls for Fleiss and Telepictures to produce "The Will" plus an additional new reality series for the Network, along with developing a sitcom.