Market Wars, companion for Roadshow, is coming to PBS

By Dru Sefton

PubTV programmers heard welcome details of a long-awaited spinoff of the hit Antiques Roadshow at the National Educational Telecommunications Association Conference in Kansas City, Oct. 18–20.

[The reality-TV casting agent behind Jersey Shore is seeking antiques authorities for the roles. See below.]

John Wilson, PBS program chief, told attendees that the program, with the working title Market Wars, will debut in spring 2012 under the supervision of Roadshow e.p. Marsha Bemko. Wilson said PBS has ordered 20 episodes initially, “at a very effective production cost per hour.”

Programmers have been eager to find a companion show to extend the audience of the Roadshow, which is by far the most-watched PBS series.

In Market Wars, two rotating expert appraisers will drop into a community for a friendly competition. Each begins with a set amount of money and hits flea markets and auctions to find interesting objects. The one with the best net income wins.

“Like with Roadshow, viewers are learning about that corner of the world, the objects, why some things are worth more than meets the eye,” Wilson said. “It has all that great history and Americana and geography built in.”

JERSEY SHORE CASTING AGENT AT WORK

Popular Productions/Doron Ofir Casting, a Hollywood agency that has cast Jersey Shore and numerous other reality-TV shows, announced on its website Nov. 2 that it’s seeking antiques authorities who wish “to become a household name to antiques enthusiasts” by competing in a new show related to Antiques Roadshow that they call “Antique Marker Wars.”

Yes, “Marker.”

“This brand new competition series will have all-knowing antiquers embark on a … a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country trip to uncover hidden gems and rusty gold.”

They will ” find out once and for all which expert has the best eye for antiques.”

The gigs will be unpaid, according to a notice placed in Backstage by the agency. [That link may not be accessible to nonsubscribers.] However, a notice on another site for performers says the job pays $838 per episode.

Doron Ofir’s firm, whose slogan is “You’re gonna be popular!,” has stocked reality shows ranging from MTV’s Jersey Shore and ABC’s Extreme Makeover Wedding Edition to RuPaul’s Drag Race and Spike network’s Harley Nation .

A Black Book profile of Ofir, posted on his site quotes him: ““We obsess over every subculture or interesting, existing world. Everything and everyone can be turned into reality television — this is my Holy Grail.”

Comments, questions, tips? sefton@current.org

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