Reality Guru on Script Trip
Wed Jan 15, 2:10 AM ET
By Josef Adalian

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - With two reality hits on the air and another series set to bow next month, "The Bachelor" creator Mike Fleiss is taking a stab at scripted series.

He has partnered with "Clueless" writer-director Amy Heckerling to create an untitled ABC half-hour comedy that will focus each week on a different fictional bash and make heavy use of celebrity guest stars a-la "The Love Boat."

"One week it could be Snoop Dogg's wedding; the next, it's Kelly Osbourne's graduation," Fleiss said. "The stars can play themselves or characters."

ABC has made a pilot script commitment to the project as part of its overall deal with Fleiss and his Next Entertainment shingle.

Fleiss said he and Heckerling "really connected" after having a couple of meetings late last year, noting that the scribe's "Clueless" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" are "two of my favorite comedies of all time.

Also, ABC on Wednesday will announce plans to air Fleiss' national beauty pageant "Are You Hot?" Thursdays at 9 p.m. as part of a new two-hour reality block set to bow next month. It will compete against two established hits -- CBS' top-rated "CSI" and NBC's "Will & Grace" -- and will further test the drawing power of the reality genre.

"I think it's great counterprogramming," Fleiss said. "(CBS and NBC) have some very great shows on, and our show is very stupid. It's also very sexy, and I think sexy competition really has a chance to find an audience. I'd just like to see some growth in the time period for ABC."

Elsewhere on the reality front, Fleiss said he has cast a family to star in "The Will," his upcoming ABC reality series in which family and friends compete for the fortune of a multimillionaire.

"It's not what you'd expect," Fleiss said. "These people are really interesting people, and they're ready to compete."