Znak&Jones, the recently launched production company of veteran reality producers Natalka Znak and Simon Jones, has partnered with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space — the organization selected by NASA to oversee research onboard the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory with the goal of enhancing the health and well-being of people and the planet — to develop programs centered around the ISS.
Znak&Jones and CASIS already have developed the first show under their collaboration — competition format Sent Into Space. It features modern-day inventors vying for their cutting-edge creations to be tested in space on the ISS. Hopefuls will make their sell to a panel of experts comprised of top flight specialists and ex-astronauts, showing what benefits the tests of their gadgets might have for mankind. “For the very first time, this format will give ordinary Americans the once in a lifetime opportunity to pitch their wildly imaginative and over-the-top inventions to some of the most prestigious experts in the world,” Znak said. “It’s essentially Shark Tank in space!”
Sent Into Space is being taken to broadcast and cable networks this week.
There have been a slew of attempts to launch a space-themed reality series involving sending civilans into space. Veteran producer Mark Burnett has tried several times, including at one point planning a trip to the ISS using a Russian spacecraft. None have taken flight, with his latest effort, NBC’s Space Race, a partnership with Branson’s Virgin Galactic, currently on pause after a fatal crash during testing.
Znak said she and Jones are not planning on sending anyone into space on a series developed with the ISS. “I will put good money on that NOT ever happening in my lifetime on a reality show,” she said. “However, experiments and objects and all kinds of weird and wonderful experiments are sent up to the space station all the time — everything from all kinds of medical and science tests to 3D printers and even golf balls and beer. What we are proposing is an exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity — that is achievable!”
Before teaming this year, Znak was CEO of Zodiak USA and Jones was CEO of John de Mol’s Talpa Media USA and COO of Simon Cowell’s Syco TV USA. Znak&Jones recently landed a pilot deal with ITV for classic format Name That Tune, signed a co-production deal with T Group for T Group’s UK production slate, and has projects in production at CMT, FYI and TLC. Znak&Jones has a distribution partnership with Sky Vision, which has also made an investment in the company.