2011 Syfy Upfront Announcements (Pt. 2): Unscripted Shows

Syfy announces what’s in store for their 2011 programming, including unscripted series. Erin Willard brings you the highlights from the announcement.
 
 
 

Courtesy of NBC Universal

 

For more great Syfy coverage from Erin Willard, check out her personal site.
Visit the NBC Universal to read the complete press release.

 

Syfy is having its Upfront tonight in New York City, and is making several announcements regarding new and returning unscripted (“reality”) shows. 

June marks the return of Hollywood Auction, which is a great show for fans of tv and movies who enjoy seeing and imagining being able to afford to own some great props.  I love it.  It’s a half-hour show, and this year it’s being paired with a new show tentatively entitled Haunted Collector.

Two more new unscripted shows, Legend Quest and Paranormal Witness, are scheduled to debut in July and September, respectively.  Here are the descriptions:

NEW REALITY SERIES

 
Haunted Collector (working title) — Premiering in June, ghosts and spirits inhabit more than just homes and buildings — they can also live in objects. John Zaffis and his family are renowned paranormal investigators, tracking down haunted items like paintings, guns, jewelry and dolls. Once identified, the items are collected and stored in their museum, helping clients bring normalcy back to their lives. Produced by Gurney Productions. Executive producers: Scott Gurney and Dierdre Gurney.

Legend Quest — Premiering in July, this fast-paced action-adventure series follows Ashley Cowie, a real-life symbologist, as he travels the world in search of some of history’s greatest relics and artifacts, all of which are believed to hold hidden powers and mystical significance for ancient and modern cultures. Each episode will include Indiana Jones-type adventure and Da Vinci Code-style connections as the hidden truths and alternative theories of these mythical objects are explored. Legend Quest is executive produced by John Brenkus and Mickey Stern for BASE Productions, and is a co-production with Universal Networks International.

Paranormal Witness — Premiering in September, from Raw TV, the acclaimed creative team behind Locked Up Abroad and Gold Rush Alaska, this tense, filmic and high-octane drama-documentary series brings to life the stories of people who have lived through paranormal experiences that defy explanation. Using the mixture of intimate first-hand testimony and grittily realistic drama that Raw TV is known for, Paranormal Witness will transport the audience into a world turned upside down by extraordinary and terrifying events. Paranormal Witness is produced by Raw TV. Executive producers: Dimitri Doganis and Bart Layton.

There are, however, a VAST number of unscripted shows currently in development for Syfy, some with links to famous (and disparate) names like Tommy Lee, Deepak Chopra, and Zach Quinto (sorry, his involvement is as executive producer).  Here’s a rundown:

REALITY DEVELOPMENT

 
Culture Shock with Tommy Lee — This one-hour investigative travel show follows Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee as he attempts to uncover the various rituals, symbols and other mysteries of secret societies around the world. Tommy Lee will dig into the history behind the secret society, search out its meeting locations and members, and meet with former members to reveal the society’s rituals and deepest secrets. A production of ITV Studios America. Executive producers: Tommy Lee and Carl Stubner. Supervising producer: Jenna Barnes.

Monster Man — When Hollywood studios want a bizarre creature, monster prop or out-of-this world alien, they turn to Cleve Hall and his very unique, family business. This series goes behind the scenes of Cleve’s workshop, where the craziness of this fun family is matched only by the insane monsters they build. Produced by Gurney Productions. Executive producers: Scott Gurney and Dierdre Gurney.

Stunts Unlimited Stunts Unlimited is an elite and exclusive fraternity of artists committed to a very imaginative, creative, unique and dangerous craft — movie stunts. This series takes audiences behind-the-scenes into a world rarely seen, unveiling the innovations and problem solving necessary to accomplish the most spectacular stunts in Hollywood. With their lives on the line with every stunt, the members of Stunts Unlimited form a close-knit work family, helping them balance the challenges of their jobs and their families. Executive producers: Ric Roman Waugh and Gary Binkow.

Hi Tech Hoaxes — The series where the supernatural, the mythical and the astonishing leave the big screen and step into people’s everyday lives. Each week two teams will go head-to-head to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for an unsuspecting pair of people, who are about to have their world turned upside down for a brief, thrilling moment. Teams of engineers, tech geniuses and pranksters will draw their inspiration from requests sent by ordinary people who want to execute the hoax on friends, family, colleagues, customers, kids, parents or even pupils. They’ll rely on the technical know-how and the resourcefulness of the teams to make it happen. But it needs to be hyper-convincing because these hoaxes are going to be happening in the real world in plain sight. Produced by North One Television.

Dinner with Deepak — If you could invite three people to dinner, who would they be? Best selling author and spiritual teacher Dr. Deepak Chopra dines and joins in conversation with some of the greatest minds and creators in the world today. In every episode, Chopra brings together a group of noteworthy guests to share a meal and a conversation ranging in topic from the spiritual, political and scientific to supernatural, designed to challenge our standard conventions and push the boundaries of viewers imaginations and intellects. Executive producers: Deepak Chopra, Gotham Chopra, Tim Piper and Sharad Devarajan.

Tyler Shields — A docu-series featuring unconventional photographer Tyler Shields and his team as they create worlds that are always surprising, shocking, and totally surreal. This Los Angeles-based artist is one of the most creative and original photographers working today. His subjects are celebrities, actors, models, and everyday people captured in magical, beautiful, and often dangerous situations. His eye-popping, jaw-dropping photos are designed to elicit the subject’s purest emotion right in the moment using no special effects. A production of RelativityREAL. Executive producers: Tom Forman, Tyler Shields and Zach Quinto.

Overthunk — A one-hour series that follows two teams of four talented creators as they compete to design, build and set off massive chain reaction machines. The best gizmo gladiators across America will face off in a weekly contest testing their mettle through gears and metal. Each week visits a new city, where natural rivals race against the clock and each other to brainstorm and build a fantastic apparatus that completes a specific task and keeps viewers holding their breath to see if these contraptions will actually work. Along the way, surprise monkey wrenches will challenge their minds and their patience. Produced by 25/7 Productions. Executive producer: Dave Broome.

Change the Day You Die Change the Day You Die is an inspiring new reality series that uses state-of-the-art science to dramatically transport its participants into the future to face their own self-inflicted demise. Each of the seemingly healthy, unsuspecting candidates — nominated by friends, family and loved ones — will go on a 10-week transformational journey where they must master a series of mental and physical challenges designed to reverse their bad habits and add back valuable lost years to their lives. Through medical-condition simulators, life-enhancing technology, unique graphics and special effects, each participant will experience firsthand the grim reality of their potential future so that they have the opportunity to change their ways before it’s too late. Produced by 3 Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA. Executive Producers: JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson (3 Ball Productions/Eyeworks USA) and Danny Fenton (Zig Zag Productions).

Imagination Nation — The innovators behind Hammacher Schlemmer, America’s oldest continuously published catalog that offers imaginatively unexpected and innovative products, go on the road to meet inventors from all walks of life to find fresh offerings for their inventory. Produced by North South Productions. Executive producers: Charlie DeBevoise and Mark Hickman.

America’s Smartest Kids — A thought provoking, reality competition show where the country’s most imaginative, innovative teenagers are challenged to invent a better future while competing for the title of America’s Smartest
Kid. Executive producers: David Zelon and Michael Sardo.

WOW that’s a lot and some of them look like they might be great. I have no idea when (or if) any will hit the airwaves, but I’m sure Syfy will keep us posted!