MyNetwork Revives ‘Folks,’ ‘Paradise’

May 14, 2007  •  Post A Comment

MyNetworkTV is ordering a new series inspired by a popular Dr. Phil segment and reviving a pair of broadcast reality shows to bolster its lineup next season.

The network will debut the tentatively titled “Divorce Wars” this fall, where unhappy couples are locked in a house for five days to resolve their differences. MyNet also is bringing back former NBC reality series “Meet My Folks” and Fox’s bawdy “Paradise Hotel.”

The news comes after MyNet met one-on-one with advertisers last week, ahead of other networks’ upfront advertising presentations. The network is promoting its shift from a telenovela format to a schedule of reality series, movies, Ultimate Fighting and specials. In recent weeks theatricals such as “GoldenEye” and celebrity-driven specials produced by “Access Hollywood” have helped bump ratings. Six more “Access” specials are planned for this year, according to MyNetworkTV President Greg Meidel.

“Every night we’ve replaced is up considerably across the board,” said Mr. Meidel, who took control of the network in January. “We’re like a nimble network that can zig when everybody else is zagging.”

Those zigging moves include reviving “Folks,” which premiered in 2002 and ran for two seasons on NBC, and “Hotel,” which debuted on Fox in 2003 and ran for one season. Both are set to premiere this fall.

“Divorce Wars” is produced by Dr. Phil’s son, Jay McGraw, and his Stage 29 Productions. Dr. Phil will make occasional appearances, Mr. Meidel said, but he will not host the show.

For “Hotel,” which gained an avid fan base on Fox due to its hedonistic, envelope-pushing content, MyNet is promising a tamer version to attract more advertisers.

“It’s not so much about doing the wild thing,” Mr. Meidel said. “It’s still going to be fun, just a little more disciplined.”

“Hotel” will launch early next year and will also run on Fox Reality Channel, which has aired the previous seasons. “Hotel” will be produced by Mentorn as a Fox Reality original series. “Folks” will be produced by Bruce Nash Productions.

MyNet also is airing Fox Reality’s upcoming series “The Academy,” tracking a group of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recruits.

During the upfronts, MyNet is forgoing elaborate presentations in lieu of roadshow-style meetings with individual advertising agencies. Mr. Meidel and Bob Cesa, executive VP of advertising sales for Twentieth Television, had clocked 21 presentations as of last week.

Chris Pursell contributed to this report.


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