July 19, 2004 – Plans for the Reichhold Center for the Arts on St. Thomas to spin off a weekly performing arts "reality" show on WTJX-TV from its annual spring STARfest talent showcases are on hold.
In June the Reichhold announced that it was in the process of developing, in conjunction with WTJX-DT44/Channel 12, the territory's first "reality" television show, titled "What It Takes."
Unfortunately, Reichhold director David Edgecome says now, one thing it definitely takes to produce such a series is money, and that's something neither the arts center nor the TV station has to put into the project right now.
The format was described in June as "local singers, dancers, musicians and comedians in a weekly variety program" to run on Monday nights for 13 weeks in its first season, Oct. 4-Dec. 27. Auditions were scheduled in July on St. Thomas and St. Croix to select "12 acts to be regulars on the show."
The "reality" aspect was that six acts were to be featured each week in an episode in which the participants would "face a series of challenges in their quest to emerge as the top entertainer." A panel of three judges would critique each act on a given show, and over the course of 12 weeks, six of the acts would be eliminated from competition. In the 13th and final show, one act would be named the winner of the grand prize, consisting of $5,000 cash and other gifts.
Edgecombe said in announcing the project in June: "When we started 10 years ago, it was always with the expectation of having STARfest become a TV variety show. Osbert Potter, WTJX's new executive director, saw the value of making this happen and said Let's do it,' so we're doing it."
Following May's 10th annual STARfest revue, the TV station began carrying weekly taped segments from the show itself, while efforts to develop "What It Takes" proceeded.
Plans called for the episodes to be recorded before a live audience in the Reichhold Center amphitheater on the Sunday nights before the scheduled Monday broadcasts.
But on July 8, two days before the first tryouts set for St. Thomas, the Reichhold Center announced that it has postponed the production plans "because of inadequate funding."
Edgecombe said in an release that "our big problem is finding the money to pay for the production. We don't have it, and neither does WTJX."
However, he said he's hopeful that a funding source will be found. "We believe the program will be of a high standard," he said, and that Virgin Islands audiences are "ready for such a show and so we're searching in every way to make it happen."
For further information about "What It Takes," call Denise Humphrey, Reichhold Center technical director, at 693-1552.
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