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Six Women Try Starting Over

NBC Enterprises is preparing to launch reality strip Starting Over on Monday, Sept 8. The syndicator has selected the first six women who will work on achieving goals while living together in a house in Chicago.

The producers will give out only first names when the show begins, but the six are a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania who wants to return to college; a 62-year-old grandmother from Illinois who wants to become a standup comic; a 45-year-old single mother from New Jersey who wants to lose weight and start dating; a 32-year-old former model from New York who wants to jump-start her career; a 30-year-old attorney from Dallas who wants to be less materialistic; and a 36-year-old breast-cancer survivor from Arizona who wants to develop more confidence so she can speak publicly about her illness.

The women will be helped by two life coaches, says Linda Finnell, senior vice president of programming at NBC Enterprises.

To find the women, NBC Enterprises and production company Bunim/Murray held open casting calls in 11 cities across the country. It also got more than 100,000 hits on its Web site and ran TV and radio spots.

The show will start with six women, but the producers have identified several others to be on deck. A woman will leave the house when she reaches her goal or if the others decide she isn't working hard enough and ask her to leave.

"The house really will be governed by the women themselves," Finnell says.

Some folks in Chicago wish NBC would start over itself and find somewhere other than the ritzy Gold Coast to film the show. But Finnell doesn't expect that a legal skirmish the show's producers are having with neighbors will delay production.

NBC Enterprises is completing a promotion
now, and stations are expected to start airing it early next month. Created in conjunction with the NBC Agency, the spot features a marathon runner who keeps seeing images of herself in the crowd in different roles, such as bride or mother, says Mary Beth McAdaragh, vice president of marketing for NBC Enterprises. When she gets to the end, she finds she has arrived at the starting line, not the finish line.