Tommy Mottola and "Biggest Loser" producer Dave Broome have teamed for a grittier take on "America's Next Top Model" that will star supermodel and 2004 tsunami survivor Petra Nemcova.
TLC has greenlit production on eight episodes of tentatively titled docuskein "The Petra Nemcova Project." Unlike the CW hit -- or Oxygen's sophomore success "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" -- TLC's project won't be a weekly elimination-based competition, nor will it feature Cinderella-like transformations of average Janes.
"With no disrespect, those shows are the make-believe world of modeling. We're doing the reality," Broome said.
Producer said the TLC skein will feature younger models, aged 18-24 ("You're done at 25," Broome said.) and women from around the world ("If you're doing something in this space, you'd better incorporate someone from Eastern Europe or South America," he argued.).
Cast of the skein, already in production, are living in New York, auditioning for the chance to win a contract with NEXT modeling agency. More than one of the models can win a contract, but Broome said most won't.
Nemcova will serve as a mentor and guide for the would-be models, helping them understand the worlds of fashion and modeling agencies. She'll also try to impart lessons she's learned from her well-chronicled experience surviving the Asian tsunami (The seriously injured Nemcova clung to a palm tree for eight hours) and losing her fiance, who drowned.
"The show fits in well with the life lessons mantra of TLC, and if anyone can speak to the idea of ‘live and learn,' it's Petra," TLC veep of development Dirk Hoogstra told Daily Variety. "What was most attractive to us about this show was the authenticity of it, and that what we're offering viewers is organic and real."
Broome said the models in the show were cast based on their potential to thrive in the real world of modeling rather than for their potential to create reality show "drama."
"This isn't a gameshow," he said. "You're not going to get the clawing and bitch-slapping you get in the other shows. The drama here is real and not put together."
Project came together as a result of Mottola's relationship with Nemcova. Broome and Mottola recently worked together on the NBC Internet-based music competish "Star Tomorrow."
"The Petra Nemcova Project," from 25/7 Prods. and the Mottola Co., is expected to debut on TLC this summer. Broome, Mottola, Jeb Brien and TLC's Sarah Kozak are exec producers.