On the Lot

Genres: Reality Competition



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On the Lot is an American reality competition television series produced by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett which features filmmakers competing in weekly elimination competitions, with the ultimate prize of a million dollar development deal at DreamWorks.

The series aired in the USA on Fox from 22 May to 21 August, 2007. There are 16 hour-long episodes in the series.

On the Lot premiered in South Africa on SABC2 on Thursday 19 July 2007, at 19h30. The "Film Premiere" episodes ran from 19h30 to 20h30 and the "Box Office" episodes followed after an hour's break, at 21h30.

However, only three episodes aired before the show was pulled by the channel, citing "problems with the production", which was never explained.

More than two years later the show returned to the channel for a complete run, on 11 December, 2008. All of the episodes aired the second time around.


Mark Burnett, Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Television and FOX have joined forces for the show that sees 18 undiscovered talents battle it out for their big break.

The series begins with a nationwide search that narrows down 50 contetants to a final 18 who go to Hollywood to make movies.

Contestants are divided into teams and every week each team produces a short film in an assigned genre, ranging from comedies to thrillers, personal dramas to romance, sci-fi to horror.

One member is selected as the team’s director, other members help produce and they all have access to the best resources the industry has to offer.

A pool of professional writers, cast and crew are made available to them and the contestants are encouraged to be extra resourceful by seeing if they can land Hollywood celebrities to star in their films.

After the teams have battled time frames, budgets and all the usual chaos that goes along with filmmaking, their films are shown and critiqued in front of a studio audience.

Judges include a high-ranking motion picture executive, a prominent film critic and a succession of well-respected guest judges.

Each week viewers (from the live USA broadcast) vote and determine which film should be left on the cutting-room floor. Just as in Hollywood, where the director’s work and vision have an enormous impact on the success or failure of a film, not all team members will pay the price. Only the director of the losing feature gets sent home if their team loses, leaving the team with fewer members for the next film.

As the competition continues and more directors get eliminated, the remaining filmmakers have to work individually, creating a new short film every week until only the most talented individual is named the winner.

There are two episodes of the show each week. The first is an hour long episode called "Film Premiere" that includes the reality process the contestants go through as they receive and complete their tasks as well as a screening of their final films.

The second is a half-hour results show called "Box Office" that features results of the voting and the losing directors elimination.


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