Burnett to produce new 'The Restaurant'-like 'The
series for FOX - December 2003
the producers of NBC's The Restaurant decided
to team back up with chef Rocco DiSpirito for
a second season of the restaurant-based reality
show, that apparently hasn't stopped one of the
producers -- namely Survivor titan Mark Burnett
-- from pursuing a previously reported "spin-off"
concept of the program, a casino-set version of
the program entitled (predictably enough) The
Casino. But if you believe Burnett, the new show
apparently has no connection to The Restaurant,
and he and his new production partner "conceived"
of the show independently.
Casino, announced by FOX (not NBC) Executive Vice
President of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell,
will begin production this spring for a thirteen
episode Summer 2004 broadcast on FOX. Set at the
Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the
program will provide an extraordinary 24/7, behind-the-scenes
look at the real-life dramas that unfold at the
establishment after its new owners take over the
old-time Vegas landmark and attempt to bring back
the glory of its "Rat Pack" heyday.
are thrilled to be in business with Mark Burnett,"
said Darnell. "He has consistently proven
himself to be one of the best producers in the
business." He added: "We found the concept
for this series riveting. Casinos are exciting,
fantastic and mysterious - and incredible human
drama unfolds all day, every day. No one has ever
had this kind of access, and we think viewers
will be amazed by this world."
Vegas is like a magnet," said Burnett. "The
city attracts people from all over the world with
two things on their mind -- getting rich quick
and having as much fun as possible in a short
period of time. It is the magnetism of Las Vegas
that we will try to capture on camera, as we tell
the story of two young entrepreneurs who found
remarkable success during the Internet boom and
are now living out their dreams of owning a Las
Vegas casino. We will watch them take a seat at
the table of the world's most exciting business
as they take over one of the most legendary of
all Las Vegas casinos, the Golden Nugget."
the center of the series will be entrepreneurs
Timothy Poster and Thomas Breitling, whose Travelscape.com
start-up website help revolution the travel industry
in the late 1990's. Having become multimillionaires
after selling their company to Microsoft's Expedia
unit in 2000, Breitling and Poster have decided
to use part of their fortunes to fulfill their
life-long dream by purchasing the Golden Nugget
Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street in downtown
Las Vegas, as well as its sister property on the
Colorado River in Laughlin, NV. Together they
are betting that they can create the same sort
of classic Las Vegas experience that was so prevalent
in Vegas' glory days.
goal is to provide customers with the type of
service that they cannot find anywhere else in
Las Vegas. We intend to give our patrons the type
of service that was so common in years past, but
has been slowly disappearing with the growth of
the mega-resorts. Vegas casinos used to be a fantasyland
for gamblers and this is what we intend to provide.
It is all about knowing customers by their names,
knowing what kind of whiskey they drink, what
kind of cigarettes they smoke, and what type of
suites they prefer - and giving it to them. This
will be the focus of our business," said
by FOX as "conceived by Burnett and production
partner Conrad Riggs" despite the obvious
similarities to the program idea that Burnett
and his Restaurant partner Ben Silverman were
reported to been pitching back in September, The
Casino will go beyond the challenges facing Breitling
and Poster, to explore the personal dramas unfolding
among some of the 3,000 employees inside this
world. From cocktail waitresses, to pit bosses,
to security, management and entertainers. 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, the show will follow
the real-life cast of characters as they run an
elaborate high-stakes operation that caters to
visitors from around the world seeking the thrill
of Las Vegas.
researched the Vegas landscape and found Tim and
Tom to be very charismatic characters and their
journey to be the most personal and dramatic story.
They will be walking the casino floor every night
like in old Vegas. That doesn't happen in today's
large, corporate casinos," said Conrad Riggs.
will serve as Co-Executive Producer for Mark Burnett
Productions along with Jamie Bruce (The Restaurant),
along with the company's Kevin Harris (The Apprentice),
who will serve as Supervising Producer.
behalf of Poster and Breitling, Trent Othick of
Las Vegas-based Insomnia Entertainment and Rob
Lieberman will executive produce, and Perry Rogers
of Alliance Sports Management will produce and
coordinate the production for Poster and Breitling.
Mark Burg represents Rob Lieberman and will receive
a producer credit on the show.
series will be filmed in High Definition format
in association with Panasonic Broadcast &
Television Systems Company.
of the contract for the series is contingent on
the acquisition of the Golden Nugget properties
by Poster and Breitling. The acquisition is subject
to regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of
other closing conditions.
for potential guests interested in appearing in
the series are available on www.fox.com.
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