- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2007

TV execs eye ‘Secret’

Development executives in the television syndication industry have been meeting with agents to bring ideas associated with “The Secret,” a self-help multimedia sensation, from the top of the best-seller lists to a place on the Nielsen ratings charts, TVWeek.com reports.

Projects and talent connected to “The Secret” may land in daytime television lineups as early as fall 2008.

At least one company already is negotiating to develop a series based on the “Secret” brand, according to a number of studio executives who asked to remain anonymous. In addition, several prominent names associated with “The Secret’s” book and DVDs, including author James Arthur Ray (“The Science of Success: How to Attract Prosperity and Create Harmonic Wealth Through Proven Principles”), are in intense negotiations to bring their own series to the small screen. Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and CBS Television Distribution are two of the syndicators that have held meetings with agents representing the title, the executives said.

The potential series is the latest concept to get a boost from early exposure on existing shows, including “Oprah,” on which “Dr. Phil” McGraw, who specializes in self-help, also got his start. “Once Oprah [Winfrey] set her eyes on this, it opened the door for everyone else to follow. So it’s not surprising that this series would be preparing for a 2008 launch,” says Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming at Katz Television.

“The Secret” originated last year as a book, Internet download and DVD consisting of a series of interviews and dramatizations illustrating the Law of Attraction. Interviews with so-called teachers, including experts in the fields of quantum physics, psychology, metaphysics, theology, philosophy, finance, feng shui, medicine and personal development, are drafted to substantiate the theory.

Among the higher-profile teachers involved with the project are author Bob Proctor, moneymaking and business-building expert John Assaraf, the Rev. Michael Beckwith, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” author Jack Canfield, psychologist and “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” author John Gray and Mr. Ray.

Last week, both book and DVD sales ranked as either No. 1 or No. 2 on Amazon, the New York Times and Borders best-seller lists, said TVWeek.com. Published reports estimate that the book alone has sold more than 5 million copies.

Emmy winners must pay

The New York City-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which administers the Daytime Emmys, has announced that starting this year, as a belt-tightening measure, it will only float one free statue per category, reports TVGuide.com — meaning those who share in a win will need to pony up $350 to go home with their own golden girl.

The West Coast-based ATAS, which oversees the Primetime Emmys, says that “as a matter of principle, we do not agree with the decision,” and has offered to reimburse those invoiced for a statue.

The ones that you want

Max Crumm and Laura Osnes are the ones Broadway — and America’s television viewers — want.

Mr. Crumm will play Danny Zuko, and Miss Osnes will be Sandy Dumbrowski, the lead roles in the $10 million revival of “Grease” opening on Broadway this summer, Associated Press reports.

The winners, chosen by audience votes, were announced during Sunday’s finale of the NBC reality series “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.” Mr. Crumm, 21, and Miss Osnes, 20, edged out Austin Miller and Ashley Spencer for the roles of the swivel-hipped greaser and the poodle-skirt-wearing good girl in the musical celebration of high school in the 1950s. The musical opens Aug. 19 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater, with preview performances beginning July 24.

The TV series premiered in early January with nearly 60 hopefuls chosen by the judges from auditions in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Voting by viewers began later in the series, after the number of performers had been winnowed down to 12 contestants — six men and six women. Contestants performed songs from “Grease” and other musicals each week.

The series followed the wildly successful British Broadcasting Corp. show “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” and its quest to find a young woman to star in a London revival of “The Sound of Music.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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