Branson to test virgin entrepreneurs in reality TV show

Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin tycoon, is in advanced talks with an American television network to make a reality show to find "an extraordinary individual who has the right stuff to follow in his footsteps".

Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin tycoon, is in advanced talks with an American television network to make a reality show to find "an extraordinary individual who has the right stuff to follow in his footsteps".

The six-week series for the Fox network, provisionally titled Branson's Big Adventure , would feature Sir Richard flying a group of wannabe billionaires around the globe and sitting a series of tests. A contestant would be eliminated every week, left behind on the tarmac after the aircraft took off for another destination.

Fox executives said the show would feature contestants tackling physical and business challenges. Mike Darnell, the head of reality programming for the network, said: "In six weeks, these people will experience challenges and adventures beyond their wildest imagination ... and Richard will be extraordinarily involved, more so than you've seen in other shows."

Mr Darnell also told Variety magazine: "It's not about business acumen. It's really about finding someone to follow in his footsteps. It's about judgement and loyalty tests that don't have anything to do with how many sweaters you can sell."

Fox said the show was not a copy of Donald Trump's hit on NBC, The Apprentice , which is a creation of the Survivor producer, Mark Burnett. ABC, another rival network, is developing a similar show called The Benefactor with Mark Cuban, who made his billions during the dotcom boom.

A spokeswoman for Sir Richard said: "Discussions are well under way but nothing has been set in stone. There might be international travel involved with it. If it were to go ahead... it would need to intrigue the audience because there are a lot of those programmes going at the moment in a similar vein."

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