A front-page story in Monday’s Wall Street Journal reported that leading independent movie makers Harvey and Bob Weinstein are moving to television production this year, following a colossal string of flops that cost their backers some $1.2 billion. In Hollywood, that counts as big money.
While the larger-than-life brothers hope to have eight TV shows on by the end of the year, it’s still a big gamble: The average American home now receives 130 channels, and in aiming for the young viewers advertisers crave, the Weinsteins will have to battle video games, sports and free Internet porn.
Their slate of new shows includes reality and scripted products like the “Mob Wives,” and a historical series that follows Marco Polo’s journeys. So, employing the skills that made the muckrakers of the last century so colorful, this morning I hacked into their computer for a sneak peek. Here are some of the more colorful projects they have in development.
The Casting Couch: Surely you’ve heard about MTV’s new “Skins,” which shows mid-teens engaging in oral sex, more drugs than the Mexican cartels can supply and near-death overdoses. This is rated G compared to “The Casting Couch.” It’s every sordid tale you’ve ever read or heard about the couch with a couple of fat, middle-aged producers (brothers, maybe?) competing against each other to score. Think, “If these cushions could talk.” After watching the pilot, you may avoid the sofa for a week. It’s too hot for the networks but is perfect for HBO or AMC on Sunday at 9 p.m.
Diego and Menaces: It’s a remake of Marlon Brando’s 1953 epic The Wild One, but this time a Hispanic gang terrorizes a series of L.A. suburbs and coastal towns. Shot both for Telemundo and domestic cable, it’s Miami Vice meets LA Confidential meets Dora the Explorer. It sets a new standard for drugs, sex and violence (that’s a good thing) and, in a unique twist, is shot in both black and white and color, like bright red when the blood starts flowing. The only hurdle will be signing the Coen Brothers to produce and direct the pilot.
Tech City: Inside the steamy 24/7 world of Silicon Valley, where the only thing that counts is the next new thing . . . and who can steal it. It’s life and death in the fast lane for the code slingers, venture capitalists and vultures, with the crew from the original MySpace now stuck in jobs that involve the line, “Would you like fries with that?”
Sports Trauma Center: A weekly hour-long show featuring an international blend of sports injuries, accidents and crashes. In slo-mo and from every camera angle, with analysis from trauma surgeons, trainers, teammates, even the tearful opponent “who didn’t mean to kill him.” Hosted by Joe Theismann.
Bill Regardie is the founder of Regardie Magazine.