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Old 02-10-2009, 12:06 AM   #1
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Smile Tony Robbins Lands NBC Reality Show

NBC is teaming up with self-help guru Tony Robbins and "Biggest Loser" producer Reveille for a reality show that aims to radically transform the lives of participants—in most cases without surgery, million-dollar prizes or drill sergeant-like personal trainers.

The network has greenlit eight episodes of the as-yet untitled series, which has been in the works since last year. After seeing a pilot presentation and meeting personally with Mr. Robbins, Paul Telegdy—NBC's recently hired reality chief—decided to move forward with the project.

While details of the final format are still being finalized, the heart of the show involves Mr. Robbins working with distressed individuals to give them the tools they need to change their lives. The show will stay with participants over the course of several months in order to document how their lives change.

The series is also designed to give viewers a chance to learn how to improve their own lives, Mr. Telegdy said.

"The mood of the country right now is about rebuilding and sleeves rolled up and 'Yes we can'," he said. "People want to know how to dust themselves off and pick themselves up. All of these will be featured in the show."

Mr. Robbins said he wants to create a show "where the real-life struggles and victories on-screen can touch and inspire the larger television audience at home."

"At times like these, we all have to get stronger for ourselves and for those we love," he added. "We all have to find the ways in which each of us can make that little difference that really matters."

Howard Owens, managing director for Reveille, said Mr. Robbins' show fit well with his firm's brand.

"Making shows that will change people's lives for the better is the hallmark of Reveille, and now is the time for Tony to help people on a mass broadcast scale," he said.

While the pilot presentation featured Mr. Robbins helping someone conquer their fear of public speaking, the series is likely to revolve around folks with much bigger issues.

Mr. Telegdy said NBC would attempt to keep the show timely by including some stories about people dealing with the impact of the national economic crisis, as well as other serious concerns.

"Rather like 'The Biggest Loser' inspires by the extremes of weight loss, Tony will be dealing with people who have major problems like bankruptcy, like losing your job...(and showing them) how to get over it, how to restart," Mr. Telegdy said.

Mr. Telegdy has only had one major meeting with Mr. Robbins, but he said he came away impressed.

"He blew us a way in a way that rarely people can in meetings," he said. "He leaps through the screen. He's physically arresting, mentally challenging and very high energy."

Mr. Robbins, Mr. Owens, Mark Koops and Bruce Beresford-Redman serve as executive producers of the project. Noah Oppenheim is co-executive producer.

It's unlikely NBC will have the show ready in time for its summer schedule, Mr. Telegdy said.

"It's not something we're going to rush to air," he explained.

Mr. Robbins, 48, is best known for his motivational speaking tours, books and videos, many of which have been pitched via infomercial. According to Forbes, Mr. Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” seminars netted him around $9 million in 2007. The magazine estimated his annual income that year at around $30 million.
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