America's Next Producer

2007, TV Show


Daisies Growing On Me Even More!

Anna Friel and Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies by Ron Tom/ABC

Nearly five months passed between the time I got my first look at the miraculous Pushing Daisies pilot and the second episode. It was worth the wait. I am officially in love.Flashback (I wish I could count back the days, hours, minutes and seconds as precisely as Jim Dale does in his spot-on narration): It’s the week before the network upfronts in May, and I’m in Los Angeles working on the TV Guide Network’s America’s Next Producer show when a studio exec not even associated with Pushing Daisies leaks me a copy of the pilot, which I’d heard was good but had no idea was THIS good. From the moment I saw it, I was enchanted and could only hope that fellow critics and viewers with open minds and open hearts would share my enthusiasm. I was also so satisfied by what I’d seen that I couldn’t help wondering if they’d be able to pull it off on a weekly basis.Flash to the second week of October, and in brilliant high definition, I watch the second epis... read more

Youngest Contestant Wins America's Next Producer

Gwen Uszuko courtesy TV Guide Network

After eight competitive weeks, Denver resident — and youngest contestant — Gwen Uszuko was named America's Next Producer in the season finale of TV Guide Network's new reality series.Uszuko's creative pitches, including an hour-long newsroom drama and a Las Vegas-based show, beat out New Yorker Jessica Iaccarino.The 22-year-old winner walks away with $100,000 in cash, a first-look deal with TV Guide Network, a production office in Hollywood and other goodies, like a MacBook, an HD monitor and Final Cut Studio editing software.When asked what she would do with her winnings, Uszuko replied, "I'm really thankful for a show like America's Next Producer, because it gave me an amazing opportunity to showcase my ideas and prove that, as young as I am, I have what it takes to run with the big dogs. I am extremely excited to work with TV Guide Network and bring my ideas and energy to Hollywood." — Megan Cherkezian read more

As a fan of your column, I ...

Question: As a fan of your column, I know you dislike Big Brother, and I won't try to sway your opinion, but I have to say that I've been disappointed by how CBS has handled recent controversies about their reality shows like BB and Kid Nation. Every year I expect one or two contestants to be irksome and display some repugnant behavior, but as I'm sure you've heard, many contestants this season have been either vapid, racist, sexist, abusive or all of the above. Amber made deplorable comments about Jewish people, but most of us only found out about them because of the controversy that erupted outside of the normal CBS airings of the show. At the very least, I expected CBS to allow Amber to defend herself during the Early Show morning-after interview that Julie Chen usually conducts with evicted HouseGuests, but now they have blocked all interviews with Amber and the rest of the cast until after the finale airs. CBS could have taken the opportunity to show that any kind of bigotry, ... read more

Episode #6

Is it just me, or can you close your eyes and imagine these producers are 5,6 and 7 years old too? Danggit! At what point do we EVER get to leave our childhood issues in the past? And I’m not removing myself from that statement. There are plenty of things I could point to in my own behavior that are left over from what I did or didn’t get from my parents (especially my Dad) as a child. In intimate relationships, I am very needy and girlish…because I hate that in me, I check it whenever I recognize it by looking at the origins of it and reminding myself that I am now a grown woman and this man in front of me is NOT my Father and cannot be expected to fill in the blanks that he left. While I could go on and on about my baggage, the point here isn’t a free psychotherapy session for me, but only to highlight the antics that are taking place in the interactions of these producers. They take everything waaaayyy too personally when it is not about them at all! T... read more

ANP Judges’ Diary Blog: Episode #6

This is the episode I had dreaded watching and reliving. When I’ve followed reality-competition shows in the past (such as Project Runway and Top Chef, from the same Magical Elves production company as America’s Next Producer), I tend to hate it when everyone fails. I actually like to see the contestants produce impressive work, whether it’s fashion or food or even TV. The drama of failure can be memorable, but boy, is it painful to observe. And it’s even worse in person.The looks on our faces as we screen the late-night dating show “Click” (or as I retitled it: “Ick!”) aren’t made up for the camera. It’s genuine horror and dismay at realizing how the team was unable to keep this project, and themselves, from crashing and burning. Despite what you may have heard about professional critics, we take no joy in watching bad TV, even if ripping it can give cathartic pleasure to author and reader alike. We want what we see to be good. I ce... read more

ANP Judges’ Diary Blog: Episode # 5

Who says reality TV can’t be good for you? This is without doubt our timeliest and most pro-social episode yet. America’s Next Producer goes green, and after meeting this episode’s guest judge, Daniel Hinerfeld of the Natural Resources Defense Council, I find myself wishing I’d considered riding a bike to the stage today instead of my rental car.We’re shooting this episode on the afternoon of Mother’s Day, 24 hours before network TV’s upfront week is to begin on my home turf of New York. Everyone I know is obsessed with what new shows are being ordered and which shows on the ropes might get canceled, so it’s actually refreshing to take my head out of show biz for a few hours and think about more important matters facing the planet at large.Overall, we’re impressed by the public service announcements the teams have produced. Most have done remarkably well considering the ridiculous time pressures: two hours to research, three hours to shoo... read more

Episode #5

Who knew a 30 second PSA could be so involved??? Whew! This challenge was right on time with the global issues awareness aspect and overall I thought they all did very well. As the field of competitors narrows, everyone seems to be sharpening every skill they have…including the ‘get along skill’. And when I saw Evie hug Schliz when he got eliminated, I knew there was a chance for peace in the middle east. I had reservations about letting Schliz go. I think he’s very talented, I like his personality, and we’re judging producers not cameramen. But the points the judging panel made were valid and his shots were overexposed. It’s also a reminder that today’s producers need to be multi-taskers of a new breed. Those that can shoot, do audio, do voice-overs, get on camera if need be, edit, direct, heck DO IT ALL!! And that’s what we’re looking for .So, needless to say, I REALLY love this show America’s Next Producer! I’ve be... read more

Episode #4

What is it about children’s television shows that make everyone who watches them immediately revert to 6 year old? Hahahaha.. It was so cute to see all of the producers’ faces light up when they saw the set and realized what the challenge was. “Hip Hop Harry” is one of the best kid shows out there, but dare I say that Shelby the Sea Turtle could give him a run for his money…ok, maybe not, but I would buy it for my kids right now…that is, if I had kids…but that’s soooo 2 episodes ago.2 things: I wanna pinch Claude Brooks’ cheeks and Gelila Asres is one of the most beautiful and savvy women on the PLANET!! Ya’ll better WORK!!! I am really happy with how well this challenge went. Everyone stepped up and acted like they know what they’re doing! Jessica has GREAT ideas…she’s the concept woman. Zo’s really strong musical talent showed up. Evie is really, really good at brainstorming and progressing a thought in... read more

ANP Judge’s Diary Blog: Episode # 4

The first thing I hear from one of the staff as I arrive at the stage on a Friday afternoon in May (exactly one week after the first elimination panel): “They behaved themselves in front of the children.”Well, that’s a relief. After the first few judging panels, in which many of the contestants acted like petulant children, sniping and fighting among each other like schoolyard brats, a little civility would be welcome. (Although as it turns out, taking too high a road would turn out to be one contestant’s downfall.)I get a sense today isn’t an ordinary one when I’m told the kids are upstairs “in school,” and they’re not talking about the wannabe producers for once. They’re talking actual kids, child performers, who took part in executing the latest challenge. (I don’t get to meet them, but that’s not a surprise, as the show’s producers tend to keep us away from the actual process.)As we get ready for the taping of the ... read more

I really love your reviews. ...

Question: I really love your reviews. Thanks for your insight. For me, the summer show to watch is TV Guide Network's America's Next Producer. I have fallen head over heels with the first two episodes and am smitten with Sharon Nash. She is hilarious, confrontational and a character. Her project last week, the reality-show pitch about running out of time to have kids, was brilliant. She was so funny and charismatic. What did you think? Answer: Well, she won that challenge, and I was one of the judges, so obviously you and I agree on that one. (By the way, thanks for the shout-out to our little show; I promise I didn't plant this one.) Sharon's a "character," to be sure, and always took us by surprise with her attitude during the Q&As. But she's also an unpredictable wild card who, when given a real chance to lead (without the peculiar circumstances that let her star in her own show), dropped the ball so noticeably we had no choice but to bounce her from this week's round. (For more of ... read more

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Premiered: July 25, 2007
Rating: None
User Rating: (12 ratings)
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Premise: TV and video producers compete to see who possesses the skills to create a hit show. Contestants take a concept through the development process, while attempting to avoid elimination. The winner receives $100,000 and a TV Guide Network deal.


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