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GSN Reality Show Has Horse Sense

GSN hopes to ride a new reality show to a ratings win in 2005.

The American Dream Derby will give six racing fanatics a chance to purchase a horse and competitively race it in several events before pitting the six in a winner-take-all showdown, GSN president Rich Cronin said.

GSN will conduct auditions at several tracks around the country later this summer to find the six fans, each of whom will receive $25,000 to purchase a thoroughbred.

"We’ll put the fans with two of the top trainers in the world, who will help them to select the horses," Cronin said. "We think this is a huge idea and has huge potential."

The trainers will work with the horses, which will compete against the other equine contenders to build awareness and a track record going into the final race.

GSN will televise the Derby finale live, awarding the eventual winner $250,000 in cash, as well as all six horses and a contract with one of the trainers.

"The winner would go from being an ordinary racing fan to being an owner of one of the hottest new stables in the country," Cronin said.

There will also be live betting on the final race, although GSN will not conduct wagering on its Web site (

The network will instead direct consumers to the appropriate legal betting Web sites and Off-Track Betting locations around the country, he said.

For more on The American Dream Derby, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 10 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.