Reality television would not be what it is today without Mark Burnett. But Mark Burnett wouldn't be what he is today without the past several years of movies. In addition to this season's Pirate Master, with its obvious debt to the Pirates Of The Caribbean films, Burnett's other film-inspired hits include Survivor (similar to Cast Away, then still in production), The Apprentice (Wall Street), and of course Rock Star (that movie Rock Star, with Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston).
We certainly aren't going to judge Burnett for following this pattern, not least of all because it helps us to project what's coming in future years, based on present theatrical hits:
Last Man Standing
300's famous Battle of Thermopylae was only the beginning. In the pilot of Last Man Standing, Burnett travels to Mexico to pit 20,000 "Persians" (actually underpaid Mexican nationals) against 300 "Spartans" (actually aspiring actors from Los Angeles). Armed only with period "weapons" that tag victims with a blot of red paint instead of killing them, the two "armies" "fight" to the "death" until only one "Spartan" remains to claim that week's $50,000 prize. Given the unlimited supply of showbiz hopefuls residing in California, Burnett will be able to field an entirely new army each week to work their way through history's most lopsided skirmishes, from the Roman conquests to more modern massacres. Filled with 300-style slo-mo shots (the only way to make these "battles" last more than five minutes on screen), the show will keep viewers guessing with its chaotic action and its complete disregard for historical accuracy. Who will be the last man (or woman) standing?
Beat The House
Everyone dreams of winning big in Vegas, but the odds are always stacked in the house's favor. Until now. In Beat The House, twelve teams of two are set loose on the Vegas Strip, where each week they will compete to see which of them can defraud the largest sum from a major casino à la Ocean's Thirteen. As tuxedo-clad host Adam Arkin presides over dirty roulette at Treasure Island one week, card-counting at the Bally's blackjack tables another, and loaded dice at the Luxor's craps table the next, contestants must become experts in every major cheating discipline. At the end of each episode, the team with the smallest ill-gotten sum gets "back-roomed." In a dark, underground concrete cell, losing teams will come face-to-face with gaming icon Steve Wynn, to whom each player must attempt to explain why he or she should not be abandoned in the desert. The ultimate winner will score a sweet job in the industry, as deputy assistant night security chief on a gambling riverboat in the Quad Cities.