Mark Burnett, Steven Spielberg team for FOX director talent search On the Lot

Mark Burnett has teamed with Steven Spielberg to produce a FOX series that will give its winner a DreamWorks studio development deal. The show, On the Lot, will be a talent competition for aspiring directors that will allow the audience to affect the outcome.

Us Weekly first reported that the show would be like a version of The Apprentice, as “two teams of amateur directors will compete to become the Oscar-winning director’s apprentice.” Instead, the show will play out more like American Idol mashed with Project Greenlight. Here’s how the show will work, according to a FOX press release:

“As the competition begins, each team will produce a short film from that week’s genre, running the gamut from comedies to thrillers, personal dramas to romance, sci-fi to horror. With one member selected as the team’s director and other members helping produce, they’ll have access to the best resources the industry has to offer. … Each week … their films will be shown and critiqued in front of a live audience during the ‘Film Premiere’ episode. Judges will include a high-ranking motion picture executive, a prominent film critic and a succession of well-respected guest judges, such as directors who are experts in the week’s featured genre. But they’ll also be subjected to perhaps the harshest judge of all … the public. It will be FOX viewers whose votes ultimately determine which film should be left on the cutting-room floor. … On the next night’s ‘Box Office’ results show, only the director of the losing feature will be sent home, leaving that team with fewer contestants to help produce the next week’s film. …[E]ventually the remaining filmmakers will have to work individually, creating a new short film every week until only the most talented individual is anointed the winner.”

The Hollywood Reporter notes that “[t]he project is based on an idea by Spielberg, who is said to be a big fan of reality television and of Burnett and doesn’t miss an episode of Burnett’s ‘Survivor’ on CBS.”

The show, which will air two shows a week–the hour-long “Film Premiere” and half-hour long “Box Office,” just like Idol–is officially scheduled for “next season.” Us Weekly says it will produced next fall and air next spring, perhaps paired with American Idol.

Mark Burnett, Steven Spielberg and Fox Partner on New Unscripted Series “On The Lot” [FOX press release]
Us Exclusive: Steven Spielberg’s Reality Show [Us Weekly]
Spielberg has a ‘Lot’ on plate with reality TV [The Hollywood Reporter]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.