Doubling up for `Elimidate’

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

A new reality show will attempt to catch viewers for one of the netlets as one person narrows down a handful of potential partners as a date progresses. Sound familiar? Well, it’s not.
The WB is readying “Elimidate Deluxe” for a fall launch even as Warner Bros.’s syndicated unit Telepictures Productions readies its own version for late-night and fringe for stations, simply titled “Elimidate.” It will be the first series out of the gate in the most recent boom of shared syndication/network windows that will soon include “Weakest Link” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” within its ranks.
The syndicated strip version is now cleared in 94 percent of the country-in 98 of the top 100 markets-including WLNY-TV in New York, KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and WCIU-TV in Chicago, as well as the WB 100+ Station Group. “Elimidate” will enter the season as the company’s sole new first-run series with Telepictures’ Productions President Jim Paratore leading the charge.
“This is one of those shows that stations are excited about because it takes relationship shows to a new level,” said Mr. Paratore, who is counting on the shared windows to drive viewers to their syndicated/ prime-time counterparts. “We’re excited about reaching viewers this way in a fragmented audience universe and expect cross-platforming to play a big part in the future.”
“Elimidate” will voyeuristically follow the trials of one love-hungry contestant who simultaneously dates a number of potential mates, axing one at a time until left with a single partner. Whereas the syndicated version will have a U.S. feel to it as dates take place in local hometowns-casting calls have already gone out in Chicago, Miami and Dallas-the prime-time version will add some spice by featuring exotic trips in locales ranging from Europe to Hawaii to South America. “Relationships and dating are obviously the primary interest of young adults,” said Jordan Levin, co-president of entertainment at The WB. “We didn’t want to present it in a way that was exploitive. `Elimidate’ was a premise we immediately responded to.”
Fortunately the syndicated series will play on a slew of WB stations, including WB affiliates in five of the top 10 markets, 16 of the top 25 and 27 of the top 50. Mr. Paratore said that while the stripped version will appear on station competitors in the remaining markets, there was no threat of a loss of promotion in order to keep viewers from switching stations.
“There will be separate campaigns for both series in order for stations to have more flexibility in their presentations of the show,” he said.
Critics have been quick to compare the series with UPN’s short-lived “Chains of Love,” which aired earlier this year, but the comparison is one Mr. Paratore denies. “There is absolutely nothing in common with `Chains of Love,”’ he said. “This is a very different take on the dating process that runs in a clear, simple format. In fact, we had the plans for this ready before `Chains of Love’ was ever mentioned on the schedule.”