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TV Guide announces new 'America's Next Producer' reality series

By Christopher Rocchio, 02/19/2007 

The TV Guide Channel has announced plans for America's Next Producer, a new reality competition series that will offer a behind the scenes look at the life of television producers.

Magical Elves, the production company behind Bravo's Project Runway and Top Chef, will produce America's Next Producer for TV Guide Channel.  The 10-hour series will film in Los Angeles and air on TV Guide this summer, Daily Variety reported Friday.
"This is the most elaborate original production we've ever got involved with," TV Guide Channel president Ryan O'Hara told Variety

Dan Cutforth, co-founder of Magical Elves and co-executive producer of America's Next Producer, described the series' format as a way "to give viewers a window on the world of some of the things a producer does."  He added the 10 "wannabe producers" will regularly compete in challenges that "parallel what's become the norm in the [production] business these days," as each contestant will be asked to put together a three-minute sales tape "on the scope of the show" they have in mind.

"Almost every network tests new scripted ideas in low-budget ways," Cutforth told Variety.  "Network executives will say to a writer, 'We'll give you $20,000 to spend on showing us your characters in a three-minute tape.'"

Those three-minute tapes also won't be confined to one genre, according to Cutforth, who said dramas, comedies, reality shows and game shows are all "fair game" for the contestants to create.  Three judges will then grade the contestants on how "thrilling" they can make their pitch, and O'Hara added that the show is also currently negotiating with a morning television program for the aspiring producers to create segments for as part of the competition.

America's Next Producer's host is still unannounced, as are its three judges, but Cutforth said one will be a distribution executive, another will be a creative entrepreneur and the third "might be a working TV critic." 

Auditions for America's Next Producer are scheduled to begin on Saturday, February 24 in Chicago.  They will then move to Los Angeles on Saturday, March 10 before concluding in New York on the weekend of March 16 through 18.  Ten contestants will be cast and will be competing for a grand prize of $100,000 in cash, a production office in Hollywood and a "first-look deal" with TV Guide Channel.

America's Next Producer is TV Guide Channel's second original reality series.  Its first, Making News: Texas Style, was announced by the cable network earlier this month.  TV Guide Channel is also home to Idol Tonight, a live American Idol pre-show program.

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