Fox Wins the Octomom TV Derby

UPDATED 2:40 P.M.    Eight is enough for Fox, which has just announced plans for a two-hour Nadya Suleman special dubbed "Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage."   The documentary, produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Films using footage from RadarOnline, will offer audiences a behind-the-scenes look at Suleman’s bizarro world, starting with the birth of her […]

Last Updated: August 10, 2009 @ 12:43 PM

UPDATED 2:40 P.M. 

 

Eight is enough for Fox, which has just announced plans for a two-hour Nadya Suleman special dubbed "Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage."

 

The documentary, produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Films using footage from RadarOnline, will offer audiences a behind-the-scenes look at Suleman’s bizarro world, starting with the birth of her instant "Brady Bunch"-size brood. Fox is rushing the special on the air Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.

 

 

Fox reality chief Mike Darnell is promising "jaw-dropping moments" during the special.

 

"It’s incredibly compelling footage," Darnell told TheWrap. "There are jaw-dropping moments. There are sympathetic moments. When you watch, it’s surreal at times. There are eight babies on the bed all screaming."

 

Producer Piligian said the two-hour special will feature "no narration, no host" and will let viewers judge for themselves whether Octomom Nadya Suleman is acting in the best interests of the children.

 

"What it leaves you with is an opinion," Piligian said. "You’re going to walk away thinking she’s either looking for attention or not."

 

Neither Fox nor Piligian are directly paying Suleman for the footage of her first seven months of Octo-motherhood. Instead, Suleman pacted with RadarOnline.com, giving the online news site access to her life.

 

Piligian was contacted around five weeks ago by agents at WME– "or the Emanuel Morris Agency," he joked– and told to review some of the footage gathered by Radar.

 

"I cut together a two-minute tape and brought it to Mike and said, ‘I think I can do two hours,’" Piligian said. 

 

After hearing there was seven months of footage, and after watching the cutdown, Darnell agreed and greenlit the special.

 

While Fox and Piligian didn’t directly deal with Suleman, the network and Piligian’s Pilgrim Films have set aside a six-figure sum in a bank account for the benefit of Suleman’s children.

 

Darnell said Suleman had "no control over the footage" shot by Radar. 

 

"It’s documenting her life basically from the day she leaves the hospital," he said. "It’s living inside her world instead of talking about it."

 

Piligian said the two hours "takes you through the whole (story), the beginning, the middle and the end. You leave thinking, ‘OK, I get it."

 

"There are some incredible inner dialogues she has," Piligian added. "You hear her thought process out loud." 

 

Why rush the special on the air so quickly?

 

"It’s a day and date conceit," Darnell said. "This ended filming in July. We don’t want it to feel like old news."

 

Darnell said he would have had no interest in an Octomom reality series. Eyeworks is set to begin production shortly on just such a project.

 

"It’s a fantastic two hours…and completely worth of a documentary," Darnell said. "We wouldn’t do it as a series."

 

An open question is whether Fox will have trouble lining up advertisers for the special.

 

"We should be fine," Darnell said, declining to talk more specifically.

 

 

Earlier this summer, the California state labor commission cited RadarOnline for violating labor laws in connection with the filming of the octuplets.