Spielberg's reality TV show hunts for talented film-makers

Steven Spielberg is taking the plunge into reality television with a show that promises to do for film-making talent what Pop Idol, and its wildly successful US counterpart, American Idol, have done for aspiring singers.

The show, to be called On The Lot, will be modelled on its predecessor - involving a nationwide talent search, a series of elimination rounds in which contestants will be challenged to make a short film and the home audience will be invited to render its verdict on the outcome and, finally, a meeting between the winner and Spielberg himself at the offices of his DreamWorks production company.

The interest for Spielberg - still an iconic figure in Hollywood 30 years after his first blockbuster hit, Jaws - is to help nurture new film-making talent. The interest for Rupert Murdoch's Fox network, where the show will be produced and aired, is to replicate the success of American Idol, currently the most popular show on US television, in a new arena.

"All through my career I've done what I can to discover new talent and give them a start," Spielberg said in a statement. "This opportunity ... allows all of us to reach out directly to open a much wider door." Spielberg will co-produce the show with Mark Burnett, a Fox executive previously responsible for the US version of Survivor andThe Apprentice, the corporate ladder-climbing show led in the United States by Donald Trump, the property magnate, rather than Sir Alan Sugar, who hosts the British version.

The extent of Spielberg's role in On The Lot has yet to be determined. It's tempting to think of him as a cross between the barking chief executive of The Apprentice and the no-nonsense, acerbic critic personified by Simon Cowell on the Idol shows.

Mr Spielberg is generally acknowledged, however, to have a rather more gentle personality, which may make for less compelling television. He is also colossally busy with his day job - running DreamWorks, which recently lost its status as a separate studio and is now part of the Paramount empire, and directing one or two films a year. In 2005, he came out with War of the Worlds and Munich; now he is in pre-production on a new Indiana Jones adventure and an untitled Abraham Lincoln project.

On The Lot will not be the first movie talent reality show to hit US television screens. Five years ago, the then young guns Matt Damon and Ben Affleck initiated a cable show called Project Greenlight, in which they first selected a project written and directed by a film-industry novice and then oversaw its production. The outcome was an incoherent mess of a movie, which made for intermittently entertaining train wreck-style television viewing.

Fox is planning to start airing On The Lot in mid-2007, at about the time that theAmerican Idol season is winding down. The new show won't get bogged down in a single production because its format will be very different from Project Greenlight.

After the nationwide talent search, 16 teams of finalists will be invited to make short films for each week's show, each one representing a different genre - romance, horror, suspense and so on. The producing-directing teams will have access to professional actors and screenwriters and might, if they are resourceful, be able to land a bona fide Hollywood celebrity to star in their movies.

The audience will then vote to eliminate one team each week, until a single winning team is left at the end. They will then be given a contract by DreamWorks, and office space to work out of.

"There are so many amateur and budding film-makers who really don't have the opportunity to show their stuff," Fox's head of reality programming, Mike Darnell, told Reuters. "We want to bring them to Hollywood ... and have America help us find the next great film-maker."

Hollywood and the small screen

* MATT DAMON and BEN AFFLECK The pair teamed up with American Pie producer Chris Moore and Wes Craven to create a contest for aspiring screenwriters and directors. In Project Greenlight, hopefuls submit screenplays online and entries are whittled down, until a winner is found and their script goes into production. Two films have been made so far. Poor ratings mean a fourth season is in doubt.

* JAMES CARVILLE and MARY MATALIN

K-Street, produced by George Clooney and directed by Steven Soderbergh,is set around a make-believe lobbying firm on K Street, Washington, the avenue famed as the home of lobbyists.Though the show is fictitious, its protagonists are real-life political lobbyists James Carville and Mary Matalin. Carville gained fame guiding Bill Clinton to the presidency in 1992, while Matalin was a top aide to President George Bush. * MARK WAHLBERG

Entourage, produced by Mark Wahlberg, is about the excesses of a Hollywood actor and his team of staff and hangers-on. Wahlberg says that the episodes come from his own dramas during his early days in Hollywood.

* JIM CARREY

The classic 1998 movie The Truman Show

starred Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who discovers that the small town he lives is in fact a gigantic studio, his friends and family are actors, and his life has been the focus of a reality TV show. Winner of three Golden Globes.

* MY LITTLE EYE

A 2002 horror flick about five young people who apply to live in a creepy house for six months on a reality show, to win $1m. There is one snag: if one leaves, everyone loses, and lots happens to make leaving attractive. Described as Big Brother meets The Blair Witch Project.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Graduate Sales Executive

17.5k + Commission (£18.5k after probation period): ESI Media: You will be res...

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn