You get an idea that only a network executive could love. You also may get millions of wannabes hoping to become the next Mickey, Davy, Peter and Michael.
That's right, NBC is in talks with British pop mogul and American Idol creator Simon Fuller to revive the network's popular '60s TV series and create a new boy band to follow in the footsteps of the original Prefab Four: Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork.
According to published reports, Fuller--the mastermind behind such groups as the Spice Girls and, more recently, SClub7--has secured the rights to The Monkees in the hopes of turning it into an updated series with comedy and music, much like the original show that aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968.
Of course, the show will also have a little dash of American Idol thrown in, as potential cast members will likely audition for their parts with cameras rolling.
Fuller is plenty experienced in mixing TV and pop. Over in Britain, he created the original Pop Idol and used The Monkees as an inspiration for his group SClub7, which starred in its own TV series and sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. Fuller also is the man we can all thank for the Spice Girls (he also served as executive producer on their 1997 flick Spice World). And Fox has just ordered up another season of American Idol, Fuller's British import that features pop-star wannabes singing their hearts out for a shot at a recording contract.
This isn't the first time someone has tried to turn The Monkees into a modern pop commodity. In 1987, four new boys were cast for a syndicated series called The New Monkees, but it quickly faded. Meanwhile, the original foursome remain popular, with two of them (Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones) continuing to tour as the Monkees.
Daily Variety reports that NBC is eyeing the series for a fall 2003 debut.
Meantime, both Fuller and fellow American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe are keeping themselves busy with other spinoffs. The pair are also working on a series titled Dream Duets, which would feature pop stars teaming up with unknowns to sing together, and Supergirl, a talent competition that finds the complete package.
"Each of the shows has differences," Lythgoe tells USA Today. "The Monkees is scripted, and Supergirl is also about intelligence, beauty and athletic ability, not just performance."
Of course, if all goes according to plan, the new Monkees might just themselves competing with the new Archies for the hearts of America's teenagers. Earlier this year, pop svengali Pearlman announced his own plans to create real-life music groups based on The Archies comic books. Then there's Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who's announced plans to create his own pop group for MTV's Making the Band II.
All told, the groups should keep our nation's county fairs booked for many years to come.