CNBC Slates Seven Reality TV Shows

By Alex Weprin 

You may recall that back in February, CNBC hired an executive to build up a primetime reality TV programming slate. Today CNBC is announcing the fruits of that labor. The network now has  seven reality TV series in the works.

Among the series in development: “Fakes & Forgeries” from Endemol USA, which follows a team of investigators who determine whether artwork is real or forged. “Franchised,” a competition show in which every week one contestant will win their own business franchise. “American Steel,” which follows the world of “competitive car flipping.” The other shows are “Flipping Wars: Vegas,” “At Your Service,” “Outstanding!” and “Venture Men.” All of the titles are working titles.

More information about the shows in development, after the jump.

CNBC has traditionally focused much of its programming efforts on dayside, using its primetime real estate for reruns and, more recently, original documentaries. The reality shows in development are the first step in moving toward a more entertainment-focused primetime. While the shows may be a little more generalist, each retains some sort of business angle, to stay on-brand. “Franchised” also bears a striking similarity to “Undercover Boss” spinoff “Be the Boss,” which has been picked up by A&E.

As CNBC adds to its primetime reality lineup, it is also subtracting employees. TVNewser hears that the network has laid off a handful of employees in its long-form documentary unit as it shifts its focus to reality TV and acquired shows in primetime. CNBC will continue to air docs, produced both in-house and from outside companies. CNN had similar layoffs back in march, as it also shifted toward a model with more long-form programming produced from outside the company.


ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., July 23, 2012— CNBC is expanding its portfolio with the announcement of seven unscripted projects in development including FAKES AND FORGERIES (working title) from Endemol USA, FRANCHISED (working title) from Eyeworks USA and AT YOUR SERVICE (working title) from Zodiak USA.  CNBC’s slate includes projects that run the gamut from an antiques detective who works the high-end world of art forgeries using crime lab technology to a life-changing competition that each week gives one person a chance to win his or her own franchise to a concierge service that makes the impossible possible for their extravagant clients.  The announcement was made today by Mark Hoffman, CNBC President and CEO, and Jim Ackerman, CNBC’s SVP of Primetime Alternative Programming.

“Exploring new formats in primetime allows us to find new ways to attract a broader viewership at night while still appealing to CNBC’s highly affluent, educated and influential audience,” said Ackerman.  “These projects are an extension of CNBC’s distinct brand complete with bold characters, big stakes and of course one undeniable common denominator…money.”

CNBC’s reality slate includes:

FAKES AND FORGERIES (working title)

Produced by Endemol USA.

Is that Warhol print worth millions or is it just a beautifully rendered fake?  That $100,000 bottle of wine may be a great investment or it could be a cheap merlot with a carefully reproduced antique label.  Welcome to the fascinating world of Curtis Dowling and his team of art investigators who work with clients that just may be the victims of a counterfeiter’s elaborate scheme.

FRANCHISED (working title)

Produced by Eyeworks USA, with JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson and Brant Pinvidic serving as Executive Producers.

There may be no easier or faster way to start a business than owning a franchise.  But steep buy-in fees make it a tough proposition for most.  In each episode, “Franchised” gives five deserving contestants ─ high in qualifications but short on cash ─ a chance to win a nationally recognized franchise.  It’s an emotional once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a shot at the American Dream.

AT YOUR SERVICE (working title)

Produced by Zodiak USA with Natalka Znak and Claire O’Donohoe serving as Executive Producers.

“At Your Service” follows a high-end international concierge service that caters to a clientele that never needs to ask “how much.”  They are dream makers who take on the most outrageous requests.  Need 10 emperor penguins for a “Happy Feet” themed kid’s party?  Looking for a 15th century castle for a Henry the VIII fantasy vacation?  Preparing a meal that requires truffles from a remote farm in Slovenia? When the task borders on the impossible, these are the people who make it happen.  Anything is do-able when money is no object.

OUTSTANDING! (working title)

Produced by RelativityReal with Tom Forman and Brad Bishop serving as Executive Producers.

“Outstanding!” follows four high-achieving teenagers who excel in sports, the arts and academics.  It’s an inside look at the gifted and talented and the parents who will stop at nothing to help their kids achieve their dreams.  We see the glory, but we also witness the sacrifice, hardship and pressures.

VENTURE MEN (working title)

Produced by Sharp Entertainment with Matt Sharp as Executive Producer.

“Venture Men” gives inventors, dreamers and thinkers a chance to pitch out their business ideas, get instant funding and then bring their products to market, all within a 72-hour period.

AMERICAN STEEL (working title)

Produced by Ellman Entertainment with Linda Ellman as Executive Producer.

“American Steel” takes you deep inside the world of competitive car flippers where “motor head” Joe Petralia and “money head” Jay Weinberg find, fix and flip classic and muscle cars.  With the economy struggling, each transaction represents one more big risk for the owners who have to fight to keep their once multi-million dollar business afloat.

FLIPPING WARS: VEGAS (working title)

Produced by MorningStar Entertainment with Gary Tarpinian and Paninee Theeranuntawat as Executive Producers and Christian Robinson as Co-Executive Producer.

The housing market plunge has created big opportunities for folks who are willing to strap on a tool belt and take a gamble.  “Flipping Wars: Vegas,” set in the city hardest hit by the housing crisis, follows four teams of wheeler dealers who see dollar signs every time they bid on a foreclosed home.


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