Television

Fox's reality trail to lead to 'The Casino'

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MUMBAI: Fox will replace their popular music themed reality show American Idol with another reality themed showThe Casino which is being filmed in HDTV. The show will kick off on 8 June.

The brains behind Survivor Mark Burnett will produce the show. The show will comprise of 13 episodes and will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the real-life dramas that unfold at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, after its new owners take over the business and attempt to bring back the glory of its "Rat Pack" heyday.

Burnett was quoted in a company release saying, "Las Vegas is like a magnet. The city attracts people from all over the world with two things in their mind -- getting rich quickly and having as much fun as possible in a short period of time. It is the magnetism of Las Vegas that we will try to capture on camera, as we tell the story of two young entrepreneurs who found remarkable success during the Internet boom and are now living out their dreams of owning a Las Vegas casino."

The young entrepreneurs in question are Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling. They sold their start-up Travelscape.com to Expedia in 2000 making them millionaires. Now they have used a part of their fortunes to fulfill their life-long dream by purchasing The Casino.

Poster added, "Our goal is to provide customers with the type of service that they cannot find anywhere else in Las Vegas. We intend to give our patrons the type of service that was so common in years past, but has been slowly disappearing with the growth of the mega-resorts. Vegas casinos used to be a fantasy land for gamblers and this is what we intend to provide.

" It is all about knowing customers by their names, knowing what kind of whiskey they drink, what kind of cigarettes they smoke, and what type of suites they prefer - and giving it to them. This will be the focus of our business".

The show which will be produced in HDTV in association with Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems will however go beyond the challenges facing Breitling and Poster and explore the personal dramas unfolding among some of the 3,000 employees inside this world. They include cocktail waitresses, pit bosses, security, management and entertainers. Of course one of the things that separates The Casino from other reality shows is that there are no prizes up for grabs.

Meanwhile a report in adage.com indicates that the show will cost Fox over $ one million per episode. There are no product placement or sponsorship deals as yet. Murdoch's broadcaster has to be careful that the show does not cross the decency line what with the the Federal Communications Commission recently coming down hard on Viacom's radio station Clear Channel.

The report adds that the show has been structured so that each one-hour installment will contain complete stories that are more DVD- and syndication-friendly than episodic reality TV. At the moment, advertisers are said to be skepticasl about the fact that the participants will simply be the unglamorous middle class Americans who merely wait for the free buffet meals.

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