The controversial reality show project had the plug pulled as it was headed into production
Fox has pushed back its plans for its own naked dating series, TheWrap has learned.
Simon Andreae, Fox’s executive vice president of alternative entertainment, was fast-tracking the still-unnamed pilot with producers A. Smith & Co. Productions, but the top brass at Fox has put it on hold, individuals with knowledge of the network’s plans said.
With producers hired, casting completed and plans to build the set made, the project was reviewed earlier this week and a decision made to hold it pending new leadership as Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly left in June and his replacement hasn’t been announced.
One of those individuals said the show had been outright killed, but another insider said it was merely on hold pending Reilly’s replacement. A network spokeswoman declined to comment.
There was no official word on the cost of shutting down the planned production, but studio pilots typically cost in the $2 million range.
Fox’s version of what has become a hot idea in Hollywood would have had its naked participants date each other on a set in front of a studio audience. One of the insiders said the pilot description has “overtones of a live sex show.”
VH1, the first to bring the concept to fruition in the United States, premieres “Dating Naked” on July 17. In contrast to Fox’s version, it places its contestants in exotic locales where they meet others of the opposite sex in the nude and then decide which one they’d like to continue seeing.
This is just the latest hiccup in Andreae’s short time at the network. As TheWrap previously reported, game show “Boom” caused internal strife over sensitivities within the company’s sales force to the theme of a fake bomb exploding. And the reality chief’s large-scale rollout of “Utopia” has been plagued by more internal fighting and doubts as to whether it is worth its $50 million price tag.
The status of “Boom” is unclear. The show was not presented at the upfront advertiser presentation in May, and it has not been given a premiere date. Fox currently plans to air it in the midseason.
In other Fox reality programming, Fox last month pulled the Ryan Seacrest-produced dating show, “I Wanna Marry Harry,” and improv series, “Riot,” from their schedule due to low ratings. On ‘I Wanna Marry Harry,’ young women believed they were competing for the British royal’s heart but were instead dating a Prince Harry lookalike. On “Riot,” performers worked upon a stage with a steep incline.
Former head of alternative TV, Mike Darnell greenlit “I Wanna Marry Harry.” “Riot” was greenlit by Reilly.
Andreae joined Fox in October, replacing Darnell, the network’s longtime alternative chief.