Your next great reality show for ABC - Houdini

An interesting day in the life of our fictional Hollywood super developer, packed as a short satirical web story. Part of 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint

Going down Santa Monica Blvd., I frequently saw a homeless man holding a cardboard sign claiming he was a former producer fallen on tough times. I admit I didn't pay that much attention to him. But once, at a local coffee shop, when I was enjoying a beautiful early afternoon, the same man approached my table and sat down. He put the latest copy of a trade magazine on the table.

  “Here, see for yourself. They called him a mogul. What a joke,” the man said with a strong tone of resignation.
   He was referring to a text about reality shows and one of their top producers, Ryan Seacrest.
  “And this concerns me how?” I responded.
  “At the pinnacle of my career in Hollywood, I was bigger than him. I had deals with all the big studios, I had shows on all the networks, I organized high-profile parties, dated gorgeous women. But nobody ever called me a mogul. And this guy anchors a singing show, then makes a reality series out of some weird family, and he gets hailed as one. Boy, this town has changed.”

  “I’d like to believe your story, but—”
  “You don’t believe me?” He cut me off, launched a fiery response. “Here, go around town and mention my name. Go to the studio bosses, bring my name to the WME and Ari…”
  “Okay. Okay. Calm down.”
  “How dare you question my career? You were pissing in diapers when this town was in awe of me,” he said before running out of steam.
  “I just need help bridging these two images. A Hollywood big shot and a homeless cardboard holder. To an average onlooker, it seems impossible.”
  “That’s why they’re average. People think a million dollars can cover their lifetime. Bullshit. You can spend a million in a month in this town. The more you make, the more you spend. Trust me on that. On top of that, I’ve had some bad Wall Street investments. They flatten your wallet in minutes.”

  “What about the shows you were producing?”
  “You know, I never clicked with generations X and Y. They’re shallow. Their interest wanes within minutes. Nobody waits for characters to develop. It needs to be instant and eye-catching for these kids. If it isn’t, it’s cancelled. At the beginning of the new millennium, I had a really great show in mind—BUGINATOR.”
  “Buginator?” I repeated, confused.
  “Just like Terminator, but bigger and more badass. There’s no bug in this world he couldn’t exterminate. And like Arnie, Buginator would always be back.”
  “Okay, Buginator didn’t work. Have you tried to branch out of scripted shows at all?”
  “Of course. But the several reality series I created didn’t go anywhere. My biggest project, Seniors of Los Feliz, was canceled within the first five minutes.”
  “Seniors of Los Feliz?”
  “Old people can be funny, too. And they sit in front of the TV all day. I expected blockbuster ratings.”

  “I know this will sound strange, but sometimes things that sound logical actually aren’t.”
  “I counted all the senior homes and the people living in them. With them alone, this would be a—”
  “Let’s drop this story.” I stopped you before you could gain steam. “Seniors of Los Feliz didn’t work out. That’s it. What I want to know is why you’re telling me all this.”
  “I’ve heard of you.”
  “You have?”
  “Yes. I followed you every day until I learned that you like this place.”
  “And how can I help you at all?”
  “I need an idea. Something that doesn’t need a major investment but has instant appeal.”
  “A reality show?”
  “And if I give you one, you’ll stop following me?”
  “Of course. If you do that, I’ll be rich again, and—”
  “Let’s stop dreaming and get back to reality. After all, it’s only an idea.”
  “Okay. What is it?”

  “I don’t know. There are hundreds of reality shows, and there’s no clear pattern defining which ones make it.”
  “You must have something for me.”
  “Something cheap? Eye pleasing? Network ready? How about a magician show? We all like spectacle, and magicians make that happen.”
  “A new Houdini?”
  “Team up with the big Las Vegas casinos. Promise, let’s say, a three-month show run to the winner, and other prizes. Bring in renowned magicians as judges... like David Copperfield, if he’s got nothing else to do. Involve the viewers. Give them a vote, like in other reality talent competitions.”
  “And this will work, a hundred percent?”
  “Nothing is a hundred percent, but if a singer can stun an audience with a voice, a dancer with some moves, than an illusionist certainly has a chance to do the same with his tricks.”
  “You’re right. One more thing. I need a dollar fifty.”
  “Startup costs for this project are low, but you’re gonna need a bit more than a dollar fifty.”
  “It’s for a bus ticket to ABC. I’ll pitch this to Ben Sherwood today.”
  “You will?”
  “Of course. He owes me a favor. My ex-girlfriend dog-sat for him in 1985. I swear. And people don’t forget pet sitters that easily.”
  “Here, take ten bucks. I don’t have any change.”


Find more movie and TV ideas at VillanLabs' Five Minute Projects - 5M Projects

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VillianLabs by Rogue Saint: Your next great reality show for ABC - Houdini
Your next great reality show for ABC - Houdini
An interesting day in the life of our fictional Hollywood super developer, packed as a short satirical web story. Part of 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint
VillianLabs by Rogue Saint
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