Fox reconciled to 'Divorce Hotel'
Fox has ordered a pilot from the producer of Hell's Kitchen based on a Dutch business that puts couples whose marriages have broken down into a hotel for a weekend with lawyers to speed up their separation.
Divorce Hotel comes from A Smith & Co, which also makes Fox dating format The Choice.
The show takes its name from a company set up in the Netherlands by local entrepreneur Jim Halfens, who advertises his services as a variety of "new divorce solutions."
A Smith & Co is working on the pilot with fellow reality specialist Base Productions. Both companies were acquired by Tinopolis last year.
Base execs met Halfens and colleagues at Mipcom 2011 and secured TV rights, taking the idea to their new stablemate, which in turn went straight to Fox.
"The warring couple check into a hotel on Friday with their lawyers and by Sunday night they check out of the hotel divorced," A Smith & Co and CEO Arthur Smith told C21 in Cannes. "Right away this was a television show waiting to happen."
Smith said the show would not set out to encourage divorce, rather help those who are desperate to get through the process swiftly and get on with their lives.
"Divorce Hotel is not a place, it's a concept, so the actual divorce can happen at any luxury hotel. We are so excited to document the process. It's going to be very relatable. It's going to connect with a lot of people and make for incredible, compelling television, just to see what happens."
Smith and fellow co-founder Kent Weed, plus Base co-CEOs Mickey Stern and John Brenkus, will serve as executive producers. The two companies are confident of a full series order and Smith said he wouldn't be surprised if Divorce Hotel helped achieve the opposite of its stated aim.
"I suspect that one day during the series there will be a couple that reconciles," he said, citing at least one example of would-be divorcees who stayed together after using the Dutch service. "They're still happily married but it's only a year on, so let's see what happens."
Tinopolis' Mentorn International will sell the format globally.