The team behind Emmy winner "The Amazing Race" — Jerry Bruckheimer and Bert van Munster — are teaming up for a new competition reality series, this time at ABC.
The network is developing a new show from the two producers that’s tentatively dubbed "Catch Me," TV MoJoe has learned. While details of the new show are under wraps, the format appears to contain some of the same action elements that have made "Race" a long-running hit.
Producers are said to be looking to cast two-person teams in the project, which is described in a casting notice as "a heart-stopping reality competition" that requires contestants who "have an adventurous streak and a poker face." Initial recruitment is for possible players in the Chicago area.
It’s unclear if ABC has given a series order to "Catch Me" or is simply developing a pilot for the project. One person with knowledge of the situation said it was simply a pilot at this point, but ABC and Bruckheimer’s camp didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on that point. (We’ll update that, and whether or not "Race" partner/co-creator Elise Doganieri is involved, when we know for sure.)
Whatever the commitment, "Catch Me" could turn into a big deal for ABC, Bruckheimer and van Munster.
In particular, van Munster — despite reaping countless Emmys — has yet to translate the success of "Amazing Race" into new hit projects. He produced "Oprah’s Big Give" for Harpo, but that series lasted just one season. And a military-themed project, "Profiles From the Front Line" — produced with Bruckheimer– had just a brief run on ABC.
As a result, "Catch Me" could be van Munster’s big chance to diversify (though "Race" is still going strong on CBS, turning into a Sunday night staple after a decade on the air).
Bruckheimer, of course, has been far more successful in TV — though mostly in scripted series. His Warner Bros. TV-based Jerry Bruckheimer TV, run by Jonathan Littman, has chosen to get into unscripted projects on a very select basis.
Littman and Bruckheimer are currently in the works on "Chase," a buzzworthy drama set up at NBC for a possible fall premiere. They’re also working on drama pilot "The Whole Truth" for ABC.
UPDATE 10:40 PM: Doganieri, as we suspected, is indeed involved as an exec producer on "Catch Me." Warner Horizon TV is producing.
We also forgot to mention a big ABC-"Amazing Race" tie-in: ABC chief Steve McPherson developed "Race" when he ran Touchstone Television (now ABC Studios). He’s wanted to develop a new reality hit with the same team ever since.