WHAT'S IT FEEL LIKE TO BE BITTEN BY A SHARK?

FX Network to Turn Annual 'Esquire' Magazine Column Into TV Reality Show

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- News Corp.'s FX Network hopes to develop a TV property based on a column appearing in the venerable Hearst Corp. men's magazine Esquire.

The annual editorial feature, titled "What it feels like," collects first-person essays on topics such as Tourette's syndrom and shark bites (as in, "What it feels like to be bitten by a shark"). The cable network acquired the rights to the column and will develop either a reality-TV-type series or a TV special.

David Granger, editor in chief at Esquire, said it is too early to know what format the show will take.

Peak experiences
"They'll probably change it completely from the original," Mr. Granger said. "We've always gone to people who have had these peak experiences. They may use other people. I don't know. I just have complete faith in FX. They take this reality TV concept and smarten it up, make it more substantial and interesting."

A spokesperson at Fox declined to comment.

Tabloid feel
"[The column] has a basic tabloid feel to it," said Mr. Granger, who would not disclose terms of the deal. "These are things you want to know about. They are sensational things. I hope that FX can translate that to television. I have faith that it will be good and interesting in ways that I can't imagine."

FX has ramped up the development of its original programming following the success of its drama series The Shield. Next spring, FX will premiere Lucky, a half-hour dark comedy starring John Corbett.

TV and film ventures
Esquire has been aggressively sticking its toes into the film and TV pool of late. Warner Bros.' film City By the Sea was based on an Esquire story by the late Mike McAlary. Producer Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment, meanwhile, is in development on "The Perfect Fire," National Magazine Award-winning account of a Worcester, Mass., warehouse fire by Esquire contributor Sean Flynn.

"What it feels like" was hatched in June 2001 by A.J. Jacobs, an Esquire senior editor. Mr. Jacobs is now editing a book that collects about 40 stories from the feature. The eponymously titled book is scheduled to be published by Three Rivers Press next fall.

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