Almost right out of the box, Warner Horizon Television came up with a smash hit No. 1-rated show with the simplest of ideas: Let Steve Harvey talk to kids and then watch them perform their unique talents. That’s just part of what went down during Deadline’s all-day The Contenders Emmys event last month, when Warners presented three of their top reality shows all overseen by Mike Darnell, who since 2013 has been President of Warner Bros Unscripted and Alternative Television. He is a pioneer in the reality TV world having shepherded the likes of American Idol when he was at Fox before switching studios. Now with Little Big Shots he has another massive hit.
But as Darnell and executive producer Robin Ashbrook explained to the DGA Theatre audience packed with Emmy voters, this is NOT a competition show. And they say Harvey doesn’t even meet the kids before the show so it has a great spontaneous feel to it. The idea came about from The Ellen DeGeneres Show where she sits down and just talks with talented kids. Darnell, who oversaw that show as part of his deal, told Ellen he thought there was a series in this idea and thus Little Big Shots was born. And according to Ashbrook, it is easy to book as producers just look in on YouTube and other video hubs everyday to find their contestants.
Check out my conversation with this pair above.