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the take

Spielberg Announces ‘On the Lot’ Judges, Rich People Thrive Under Adversity

Photo by AFP / Getty Images

Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett's new reality-TV series, On the Lot, where 50 filmmakers compete for a $1 million DreamWorks development deal, is Fox's next great ratings hope; they're premiering the show after the next-to-last episode of American Idol next month. So why is the panel of judges for the show's first round so deathly dull?

Carrie Fisher and Brett Ratner will be lively and smart, we're sure. (Though it should be pointed out that Fisher's never directed a film.) But Garry Marshall and Jon Avnet? The gritty auteurs behind The Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride, and Up Close and Personal? If the whole point of the series is to reward filmmakers who thrive under adversity, why not find a few indie-experienced directors who've shot on a shoestring budget rather than filling the panel with big-studio vets who are used to well-stocked craft-services tables?

Look, it doesn't have to be Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee. (We assume those attention hounds were knocking down the door trying to get in.) How about Alfonso Cuarón or Robert Rodriguez or Richard Linklater? How about an actual woman filmmaker, like Catherine Hardwicke or Valerie Faris or Kimberly Peirce?

Hope remains: These four will only judge the first episode. Unfortunately, the next panel is described on the show's Website as "a high-ranking motion picture executive, a prominent film critic, and a succession of well-respected guests." Borrrrr-ing!

Spielberg Pulls 4 Vets Onto Lot [Variety]