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‘Better or Worse’ for CW

Oct 12, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The CW is looking to the producers of “The Bachelor” and “Wife Swap” to put a new twist on relationship-based reality shows.
In its first greenlight of an unscripted series since former reality chief Jennifer Bresnan left for CBS, The CW has ordered six episodes of the wedding-themed series “For Better or Worse.” RDF USA will produce the series with Mike Fleiss and his Warner Horizon-based Next Entertainment.
The tentatively titled “For Better or Worse” will give unmarried couples who are in long-term relationships what The CW is terming the “ultimatum of a lifetime.” During each hour-long, self-contained episode, couples will experience during one week all of the dramas that occur in the planning of a wedding. Their families and friends will also be drawn into the show.
At the end of the week, with a lavish wedding on the line, the couples will have to decide whether or not to say, “I do.”
“It was based on something we had developed internally,” said RDF USA President Chris Coelen. “We came to Mike because I thought he was the perfect partner. It’s right in his wheelhouse as a relationship show. He’s done it so well with ‘The Bachelor,’ we thought he’d be the best guy to team up with.”
After Mr. Fleiss came on board, he began work to expand and refine the concept.
“I wanted to make a show that had the drama and pop of the finale episodes of ‘The Bachelor’,” he said. “That episodes always does great in the ratings because you know there’s a payoff.”
Mr. Fleiss said the structure of “For Better or Worse” ensures great drama. “Either there’s a big spectacular wedding or there’s a train wreck,” he said. “It’s hard to make a self-contained hour that has a real punch to it, but I think this one will.”
“For Better or Worse” joins a long list of series in production or in the works at RDF USA. In addition to “How to Look Good Naked” (Lifetime) and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (Fox), the company is getting ready to bow “From Ladette to Lady” (MTV), “Secret Millionaire” (Fox), and “Coolio’s Rules” (Oxygen) over the next few months.
“We’ve had 25 projects picked up in the last year and a half,” Mr. Coelen said. “Of all the series, all but one have been reordered for a second season. I think that’s a testament to the fact that not only are we selling a lot, but we’re doing a good job of delivering what we need to deliver for the buyers.”
For Mr. Fleiss, “For Better or Worse” comes as the producer is gearing up an increasing amount of TV production. In addition to new seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” on ABC, Next Entertainment is working on “The Cougar” and a new season of “High School Reunion” (both for TV Land) and has several unannounced projects in development.
“For Better or Worse” is also the first series from Mr. Fleiss to be announced since he reunited with his longtime agent, UTA’s Michael Camacho, over the summer.

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