Slice show Mr. Friday open for business(es)

A reality show on Slice Network's summer sked is currently in production around southern Ontario - and there are opportunities for businesses and organizations to open up their doors for some feel-good integration.

Toronto-based Temple Street Productions creators Connie Contardi and Jocelyn Mercer are looking for the perfect jobs for Derek Friday, an ex-fashion model and trust fund baby who must, in order to keep receiving his weekly allowance from his mother, swap spots with a frazzled worker every Friday, trading his luxurious lifestyle for their day of drudgery. While Friday slaves away, the ‘swapee’ enjoys a customized day of pampering.

The show is scheduled to air in July 2008 on Canwest’s Slice Network. Seven eps have already been shot. The show’s pilot was shot at Reptilia, a reptile zoo located in Vaughan, Ontario. It gave Derek Friday a good lesson on cleaning alligator tanks, feeding boa constrictors, and performing for the public.

‘We have one locked down for sure and other really great potentials, but we’re very open and of course we like to encourage business and people to apply to us, because we’re keeping hopeful for season two,’ Contardi tells MiC, adding that Alliance Atlantis deals with the more direct product placement opps for its programming.

‘It’s not your traditional product placement opportunity,’ she adds. ‘It’s very integrated. The integrated media opportunities grow organically from the story itself. The story comes from the job and from the people that work for the companies, so it never feels like a forced placement at all. And the right company makes for that great magical episode.’

Aside from Reptilia, other eps give exposure to business such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Bird Kingdom, Big Top Circus School, Drysdale Tree Farm and the Hamilton Airport. At the end of February, Friday was set to shoot as a one-ep employee of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Contardi and Mercer say production will, hopefully, be wrapped up by mid-March. Six more episodes remain to be shot heading into the end of February.

‘We have a nice array of large companies as well as privately-owned organizations,’ Mercer tells MiC. ‘We like to mix it up. It’s not a situation like The Simple Life. When we approach companies, as soon as we talk about the premise of the show, they’re afraid that that is the kind of energy it’s going to have, that Derek is going to come in and mess everything up and throw things around and cause a ruckus. But that’s not going to happen. This show is so full of heart. The companies that are involved become attached to that feel-good premise, and at the end of the day they come out looking good.’

Temple Street counts among its productions Billable Hours (Showcase), Canada’s Next Top Model (CityTV), How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria (CBC), The Session (CBC), Spoiled Rotten (Slice), Darcy’s Wild Life (NBC. Discovery Kids, Family Channel, Nick UK) and Blueprint For Disaster (Discovery).