The CW has picked up TMZ-developed reality show Famous in 12, which will task one American family with becoming famous in 12 short weeks.
Much like the Kardashians, the family in question will hang out at celebrity hot spots and try to hobnob with Hollywood's rich and famous. They'll be presented with a series of challenges with an aim of raising their profile, and every time they succeed, they'll appear on TMZ and TMZ.com. The family also will be expected to use social media to their advantage, tweeting, posting pictures on Instagram and updating their statuses on Facebook.
While Famous in 12 is a reality show, it's also a game that can be won or lost, with Levin serving as the ultimate arbiter. If the family becomes famous, there's a prize at the end (again, think Kardashians), if they lose, they fade back into obscurity.
The show will air on The CW, but it will get a lot of promotional help from TMZ, which predominantly airs on Fox affiliates across the country. Executives at both The CW and Fox see the advantages to cross-promoting Famous in 12 and TMZ, says Levin.
"The two things that are especially exciting here are how two competing networks are so committed to cross promotion that will ultimately benefit both TMZ and Famous in 12. We also are going to use social media to push people to both shows like you haven't yet seen on television."
TMZ already is a social-media powerhouse, and launched its latest TV endeavor, TMZ Live, after first developing it online at TMZ.com and UStream.
Casting for Famous in 12 kicked off last December when TMZ started shopping for a family who wanted to be famous via notices on its TV show, Web site and other platforms.
Levin and his team at TMZ is working with Renegade 83, led by David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe, to produce Famous in 12. "I've never had a partnership that I've enjoyed so much," says Levin.
The show, which is slated for midseason 2014, will be produced by Harvey Levin Productions and Renegade 83 in association with Warner Horizon Television and Telepictures.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.