LOS ANGELES—The man responsible for some of the most indelible movie moments of the past generation -- "Jaws," "E.T." and "Jurassic Park" among them -- is looking to give a would-be director his or her big break.
And, times being what they are, Steven Spielberg is turning to unscripted TV to do it.
Spielberg has teamed with "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" creator Mark Burnett for a new series called "On the Lot," which will give aspiring filmmakers a chance to break into Hollywood via a development deal at DreamWorks, the studio Spielberg co-founded. The show is scheduled to air on FOX next season.
"All through my career I've done what I can to discover new talent and give them a start," Spielberg says. "This opportunity with Mark Burnett, DreamWorks and FOX allows all of us to reach out directly to open a much wider door."
Adds Burnett, "For me, like any person who wants to be a filmmaker, the opportunity to work hand in hand with Steven Spielberg is a dream come true. We're going to make an incredible show about looking for the next great filmmaker by mining the growing segment of the public making their own content, and giving them the chance of a lifetime."
Unlike the HBO/Bravo show "Project Greenlight," which focused primarily on a contest winner's struggles to get a movie made, "On the Lot" will be more about the competition. Sixteen finalists will be divided into several teams and put to work making a short film each week. The job of director will rotate among each team's members, and they'll have a group of professional actors, writers and craftspeople at their disposal.
Each team's film will be shown to the viewing audience, as well as to an expert panel that includes a movie executive, a film critic and rotating guest judges. Viewers will then vote for their favorites, and the director of each week's losing film will be sacked. The last person standing will win a studio development deal at DreamWorks, which is now part of Paramount.