Saturday, April 17, 2010

'Transformers' Director Michael Bay Breaking Into Reality TV

Michael Bay is teaming with "Top Chef" and "Project Runway" producers Magical Elves for a reality competition series titled "One Way Out." Bay and his partners, Elves' Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, are shopping the idea to networks this week.

Variety describes the pitch as an "action-adventure" competition that pits contestants against one another in physical challenges and requires them to focus on "the PSYOPS [psychological operations] of creating alliances and keeping their own 'secret pasts' hidden from other players." The description doesn't get any more specific than that, but the principals make some big promises.

"For my first television project I wanted to do something that had never been done before," Bay said in a statement on his Web site. "And I believe that 'One Way Out' accomplishes that. Combining unique twists, death-defying challenges, and stunning visuals, we are reinventing the genre, showing just how far people will go when they are stripped of their bare necessities and forced to do whatever it takes to survive."

Lipsitz echoed the "Transformers" director, predicting that the particular aesthetic Bay brings to his big-screen work — spectacle-heavy, big-budget productions — will bring the program "a fresh perspective that's not just new to reality TV, but new to television, period."

Bay graduated from music-video work in the mid-1990s — including clips for Meat Loaf and Great White — with the breakout success of his Will Smith/Martin Lawrence buddy cop flick "Bad Boys." He quickly earned a reputation for big explosions and rapid-fire editing, on display in the action comedy and in subsequent efforts like "The Rock" and "Armageddon."

Bay has been locked in as director of the "Transformers" franchise since 2007; the first of which was followed by a 2009 sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." A summer 2011 release is planned for "Transformers 3." While Bay has served as producer on a range of films since the success of 1998's "Armageddon," "One Way Out" will be his first foray into television.

Do you think the director can recreate his big-screen excitement for reality TV? Sound off in the comments!

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