ABC Reality Show to Offer 'Love for Sale'

Thu Feb 20, 3:16 AM ET
By Josef Adalian and Michael Schneider

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - ABC is teaming up with the producers of syndicated television's "Blind Date" for an unscripted series some industry insiders are already labeling a reality take on the movie "Indecent Proposal."

The Walt Disney Co.-owned network has ordered six episodes of "Love for Sale," a relationship show in which established couples find their love put to the test.

The show is being developed by David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe's production company Renegade 83, mostly known for its hit syndicated series "Blind Date" and "The 5th Wheel."

"Love for Sale" marks Renegade's latest big push into prime time TV.

"We have this incredible opportunity with the explosion in reality," Garfinkle said.

Executives at ABC and Renegade declined to provide any specific information about "Love for Sale," citing competitive issues and the fact that the series -- expected to debut this summer -- is still very much in the early stages of development.

However, the project was pitched to several networks before ABC locked up the rights. According to competing TV executives who heard the pitch, "Love for Sale" will offer an established couple a substantial sum of cash if one of them agrees to spend several weeks with a member of the opposite sex.

That premise is reminiscent of the 1993 film "Indecent Proposal," in which a wealthy Robert Redford offers a married woman played by Demi Moore $1 million to sleep with him.

Unlike "Indecent Proposal," there'd be no requirement that the relationship be consummated. It's also possible that other aspects of the show could change as the project is developed at ABC.

Garfinkle said the show would "open a lot of eyes."

"I think audiences are going to be captivated by the nature of this show," Garfinkle said. "When people hear about what this show is, they're going to be fascinated and really intrigued."

Renegade's current prime-time output includes the WB's pseudo-celebrity showcase "The Surreal Life." The company also landed a five-episode order at NBC to revive the classic game show "Let's Make a Deal."

"Deal," which premieres Tuesday, March 4, is hosted by "Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush. NBC entertainment exec VP Jeff Gaspin approached Renegade just a few months ago to produce the show, along with Monty Hall Enterprises.

As for the rest of Renegade's development slate, the company recently struck a deal with the WB to develop a comedy starring "Surreal Life" housemate and rapper-turned-preacher M.C. Hammer.

On the scripted front, Renegade developed a half-hour comedy for Fox this season, "Dating Is Hell," which follows six characters who go on bad dates every week. The sitcom, which takes place at night, begins and ends at the "American Graffiti-style diner where the group congregates.

Renegade also recently entered the feature arena with a romantic comedy loosely based on Renfroe's experience as a single man trying to make it on the dating scene while producing a hot dating TV show (aka "Blind Date").

Garfinkle and Renfroe, who started as partners at Gold Coast Entertainment ("Rendez-View"), moved on to launch Renegade 83 four years ago. The company was named after the mascot at their alma mater, Florida State, while the "83" stands for the year they graduated.

Beyond current entries like "Blind Date," the duo have produced fare such as UPN's short-lived reality entry "Chains of Love," which Renegade handled with Endemol.