July 13, 2005 06:18 PM by Joe Blackmon
The ABC Television Network announced today the order for nine episodes of "The Million Dollar Idea" (working title), a new reality series from executive producers Simon Cowell, Nigel Hall and Cecile Frot-Coutaz of FremantleMedia North America. Over the course of the series, the show will undertake a nationwide search for America’s greatest entrepreneur with the best business idea or new product. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity culminates with the presentation of $1,000,000 worth of business support, including cash, top-notch entrepreneurial counsel and physical resources to the winner, allowing him/her to turn a dream into reality.
"The Million Dollar Idea" was conceived by Simon Cowell, one of reality television’s greatest anti-heroes, and Peter Jones, one of Britain’s youngest entrepreneurs. Cowell’s honesty on "American Idol" has made him a household name in the U.S., but his career spans more than 20 years in the music industry as both a producer and executive. Cowell has also produced the UK series "The X Factor," as well as the American series, "Cupid," all in conjunction with FremantleMedia, the producers of "American Idol." Jones found television fame as one of the panelists on a hit business reality show in England. Jones’ straight talking and ability to detect innovative business ideas is the reason why he will be one of the judges on "The Million Dollar Idea."
"This is an exciting show," says Cowell. "Right now, someone in America may be sitting on the best new idea in the world. This show gives everyone the chance to fulfill that dream. I have no idea who or what is going to turn up, and that is the fun of this new series."
The series will take viewers on the full journey from open-call auditions through a nail-biting competition for $50,000 in "seed money" that only nine finalists will win. The finalists are then sent home to try to bring their idea to fruition. Their challenge is how to best invest their $50,000 in seed money to win a place in the finale. All the while, judging the competition are "The Millionaires" — a three-person panel of business leaders who have achieved their own success with original concepts that they were able to bring to life. The three best inventions will compete in the live finale, where America will vote and decide what they believe is "The Million Dollar Idea."
"Simon and Peter have conceived a fantastic show," said Andrea Wong, executive vice president, Alternative Programming, Specials and Late-Night, ABC Entertainment. "Somebody out there has thought of the next Post-it Note or Starbucks, but they don’t have the means to actually make it happen. It’s going to be thrilling to find that person and make his or her dream a reality."
Added Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Chief Operating Officer, Production, FremantleMedia North America: "’The Million Dollar Idea’ was born out of Simon’s desire to continue bringing talented and creative people to the forefront of reality television. Having worked with Simon for years, I am delighted to partner with him once again on a project that I feel will be a tremendous success."
"The Million Dollar Idea" is from Fremantle, Syco Television and PeeDee Productions. Simon Cowell is executive producer. The show was packaged by CAA.