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WB adds 'Geek' spinoff to lineup

Smart women will be paired with hot but half-witted guys in a reverse version of the makeover show.

January 17, 2006|Lynn Smith | Times Staff Writer

Granting Ashton Kutcher's wish, the WB's entertainment president, David Janollari, said Monday that the network will pursue a reverse version of his hit show "Beauty and the Geek" with smart, ordinary-looking women and hunky, not-so-smart guys.

The unscheduled announcement came during an executive panel at the Television Critics Assn., which began its second week in Pasadena. In an earlier session, Kutcher, currently the show's executive producer, who is filming a movie in Louisiana, told critics that a flip version of the show had been a longtime project of his, and he wanted to encourage the WB to buy it. Janollari said at the executive panel that he hoped such a show could be ready for the 2006-07 season.

Janollari and WB Chairman Garth Ancier also disclosed a new half-hour live action comedy written by Ellen DeGeneres and her brother Vance DeGeneres that is about family life and includes the viewpoint of the family dog; Ellen will voice the role of the dog. No timetable was announced for the still-untitled show.

Nick Lachey (the soon-to-be former spouse of Jessica Simpson) will also be starring in his own project, a half-hour romantic comedy about a newlywed baseball player, the executives announced. No date has been set.

Among the network's other new shows to debut during the 2006-07 season:

* "Survival of the Richest" -- A reality show matching people from opposite ends of the economic spectrum.

* "Pepper Dennis" -- An hourlong comedy starring Rebecca Romijn as an ambitious reporter for a Chicago news broadcast.

* "Modern Men" -- A Jerry Bruckheimer production about two childhood friends who become clients of the same life coach (Jane Seymour).

* "Cult" -- Explores the effect of a hit television show that "manipulates the lives of its audience in dark and dangerous ways."

The critics questioned members of this season's "Beauty and the Geek," a makeover show that pairs beautiful women with brilliant but socially stunted men, about whether the show had indeed transformed them.

One contestant, Tyson Mao, said he had not yet been able to put his new socially savvy self into practice back at school. "At Caltech, you can count the single women on one hand with three fingers chopped off," he said.

One skeptical critic asked Janollari how they would find cast members for the reverse "Beauty and the Geek," given the widespread double standard among men and women. "You don't live in Hollywood, do you?" he joked. "Come to the party tonight."

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