TNT’s unscripted Upfront promises ‘Bourne Identity meets Truman Show’

U.S. networks TNT and TBS have unveiled a slate of Upfront unscripted development projects, including a mystery-solving reality project from Joel Silver and Phil Gurin (pictured) that drops competitors into a fictional town.
May 19, 2011

U.S. networks TNT and TBS have unveiled a slate of Upfront unscripted development projects, including a mystery-solving reality project billed as combining “The Bourne Identity with the voyeurism of The Truman Show,” in which competitors are dropped in a fictional town.

Each self-contained episode of the as-yet-untitled Joel Silver project will see two contestants dropped into a fictional town where they find themselves at the center of a major incident. As the minutes tick down, they must use whatever clues they can find to solve a major problem before the clock runs out.

The project comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television, Joel Silver (The Matrix) and Phil Gurin (Shark Tank), based on an original idea by Gurin (pictured above).

Elsewhere on the TNT unscripted development slate, The Great Escape sees contestants having to escape from scenarios such as a sinking ocean liner, a prisoner-of-war camp or a desert island using only their wits and everyday skills.

The project comes from Fox Television Studios, Imagine Entertainment, The Hochberg Ebersol Company, Profiles Television Productions and exec producers Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind), Brian Grazer (24), Francie Calfo (Scoundrels), Elise Doganieri (The Amazing Race), Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race), Justin Hochberg and Charlie Ebersol.

In Shooters, from Scott Free Productions, 10 of the best and brightest up-and-coming stars of the commercial-directing world compete for bragging rights to be known as the top shooter, as well as seed money to start their own production house. An untitled search and rescue project from Thom Beers’ Original Productions, meanwhile, sees the creator of Deadliest Catch take an inside look at the Alaskan Coast Guard’s search-and-rescue team.

Finally, an untitled business makeover project from executive producer Arthur Smith (Hell’s Kitchen) promises to see a business titan bringing knowledge and experience to family businesses on the brink. In each episode, a top leader will assess the big problems facing a small business to help them turn it around before it’s too late.

TNT’s sister network, TBS, unveiled just one unscripted project in development. In Pyramid, Andy Richter – sidekick to talk show host Conan O’Brien – will host a modern-day take on the classic gameshow that began as The $10,000 Pyramid.

The format sees contestants team with a celebrity partner to take turns guessing words or phrases in a category, and comes to TBS from Sony Pictures Television, Embassy Row and exec producer Michael Davies (Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?).

At the TNT/TBS upfront, the networks also announced that Conan O’Brien would be taking his late-night talk show Conan on the road for the first time. O’Brien will set up shop at the Beacon Theater in New York from October 31 to November 3 to celebrate the first anniversary of his arrival at TBS.

The event will mark O’Brien’s first stint in New York since he hosted Late Night with Conan O’Brien. In 2012, Conan will hit the road again for a stop in Chicago.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.