TLC announces 'Top Model'-like 'Petra Nemcova Project' reality series
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/07/2007
TLC has announced that it has ordered The Petra Nemcova Project, the tentative name of a new reality series that will put some new twists on the familiar formula used for The CW's America's Next Top Model and Oxygen's The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.
"With no disrespect, those shows are the make-believe world of modeling, We're doing the reality," The Petra Nemcova Project executive producer Dave Broome told DailyVariety.
Broome said the series will feature younger models than other similar reality series, as only women ages 18 to 24 were allowed to apply. "You're done at 25," he told Variety, seemingly unaware that Top Model hasn't had a contestant older than 24 since its sixth installment.
He added contestants won't just come from within the confines of America either, as women from around the world were chosen to participate. "If you're doing something in this space, you'd better incorporate someone from Eastern Europe or South America," Broome told Variety.
The eight-episode series will be hosted by supermodel Petra Nemcova, who will join Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum as former runway-walkers who now mentor would-be models. Although she was featured on the cover of the 2003 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and also models for Victoria's Secret, the 27-year-old Nemcova is more recently known for surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which triggered a series of tsunamis that are believed to have killed more than 200,000 people.
Nemcova was at a resort in Thailand with her photographer/fiance, Simon Atlee, when the tsunami struck where they were staying -- drowning Atlee and causing Nemcova to cling to a palm tree for eight hours to ensure her survival.
"[The Petra Nemcova Project] fits in well with the life lessons mantra of TLC, and if anyone can speak to the idea of 'live and learn,' it's Petra," Dirk Hoogstra, TLC vice president of development, told Variety. "What was most attractive to us about this show was the authenticity of it, and that what we're offering viewers is organic and real."
The cast of The Petra Nemcova Project is already living in New York, according to Variety, as each contestant is auditioning for the chance to win a contract with NEXT modeling agency. While more than one of the models featured on the series could win a contract, Broome said most won't. He added the cast of the show was chosen based on their "potential to thrive in the real world of modeling" rather than for their "potential to create reality show drama."
"This isn't a game show," Broome told Variety. "You're not going to get the clawing and bitch-slapping you get in the other shows. The drama here is real and not put together."
According to Variety, The Petra Nemcova Project came together as a result of executive producer Tony Mottola's relationship with Nemcova, and the series is expected to debut on TLC this summer. The Petra Nemcova Project is from 25/7 Prods. and the Mottola Co. Broome, Mottola, Jeb Brien and TLC's Sarah Kozak are executive producers.