[12/22/03 - 12:00 AM]
FOX Heads to 'Eden' for Midseason
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX is heading back to "Paradise Hotel." Sort of.

The network announced over the weekend it has greenlit production on 25 episodes of "Forever Eden," a new series described as the first "reality soap opera." The series tracks a group of unmarried men and women who agree to live in an isolated, ultraluxurious resort and earn cash for each week they manage to stay.

If the premise sounds familiar to "Paradise Hotel," it should be no surprise that the series comes from "Hotel" executive producers Arthur Smith, Kent Weed, Tom Gutteridge and Charles Thompson. The show differs from "Hotel" however in that the producers are hoping the show runs indefinitely, with some guests staying for years.

While specifics are still being worked out, it's expected "Eden" will feature "Hotel's" fluid rule system which changed arbitrarily to increase the drama on the show. What is known for sure though is that guests can leave at any time but they will forfeit half their earnings. Every so often however, guests will be offered the chance to exit with all of their cash or perhaps with extra incentives. Also while there will be reward competitions, nobody will be "voted out" so to speak. The producers will instead focus on trying to make the series just like a soap opera by including guest stars such as ex-lovers or long-lost relatives in order to keep things interesting.

Casting began on the show last month with production on the initial 25 hourlong episodes set to begin in time for a spring air date. Industry insiders say FOX plans to run the show on either Thursdays or Fridays as a cheap alternative to scripted programming. It's also not clear if FOX plans to run the show once or twice a week, as was the case with "Hotel."

As for "Hotel" itself, FOX says it remains open to a second season of the series this summer but no decisions have been made.

In addition to Smith, Weed, Gutteridge and Thompson, Bruce Toms will also executive produce "Eden," with Andy Scheer on board as co-executive producer. The show comes from the U.K.-based Mentorn in association with A. Smith & Co.

  [december 2003]  


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