CNBC gets in the reality game

Business news channel CNBC is moving into primetime reality programming, unveiling a slate of seven unscripted development projects in a bid to "attract a broader viewership."
July 24, 2012

Business news channel CNBC is moving into primetime reality programming, unveiling a slate of seven unscripted development projects in a bid to “attract a broader viewership.”

Among the projects in development are Fakes and Forgeries (working title) from Endemol USA, Franchised (w/t) from Eyeworks USA, and At Your Service (w/t) from Zodiak USA.

The slate includes projects “that run the gamut from an antiques detective who works the high-end world of art forgeries using crime lab technology, to a life-changing competition that each week gives one person a chance to win his or her own franchise,” according to the network.

Jim Ackerman, CNBC’s senior VP of primetime alternative programming, explained: “Exploring new formats in primetime allows us to find new ways to attract a broader viewership at night while still appealing to CNBC’s highly affluent, educated and influential audience.

“These projects are an extension of CNBC’s distinct brand complete with bold characters, big stakes and of course one undeniable common denominator… money.”

Fakes and Forgeries follows Curtis Dowling and his team of art investigators who work with clients to establish whether works of art are actually genuine or counterfeit; while Franchised gives five contestants – high in qualifications but short on cash – a chance to win a nationally recognized franchise. The latter is exec produced by JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson and Brant Pinvidic.

At Your Service, exec produced by Natalka Znak and Claire O’Donohoe, follows a high-end international concierge service that caters to a rich clientele that never needs to ask “how much?”

The show will see the team take on outrageous requests, such as tracking down 10 emperor penguins for a Happy Feet-themed kid’s party, and preparing a meal that requires truffles from a remote farm in Slovenia.

Of the other titles, Outstanding! (w/t) is produced by RelativityReal with Tom Forman and Brad Bishop serving as exec producers. The show follows four high-achieving teenagers who excel in sports, the arts and academics.

Venture Men (w/t), meanwhile, is produced by Sharp Entertainment, with Matt Sharp as EP. The show gives “inventors, dreamers and thinkers” a chance to pitch their business ideas, get instant funding,and then bring their products to market, all within a 72-hour period.

From Ellman Entertainment comes American Steel (w/t), exec produced by Linda Ellman. The show looks at the world of competitive car flippers, following a team that finds, fixes and flips classic cars.

Finally, Flipping Wars: Vegas (working title) is produced by MorningStar Entertainment with Gary Tarpinian and Paninee Theeranuntawat as EPs and Christian Robinson as co-EP. Set in Las Vegas, it follows four teams of wheeler dealers “who see dollar signs every time they bid on a foreclosed home,” according to the network.

CNBC brought Ackerman, previously with VH1, on board to oversee a reality roster in February.

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