Finding Ugly Betty
Forbes 11/29/06

Finding Ugly Betty

The Los Angeles television production company responsible for The Office and Ugly Betty has hit on a clever formula for success--troll the world for hit program formats, then adapt them for a domestic audience.

Reveille was founded in 2002 by Ben Silverman, a former William Morris Agency executive. Silverman already had a sterling track record in bringing foreign programming to the U.S. He had a hand in bringing over the British game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the Swedish reality show Expedition Robinson (later Survivor) and the Dutch reality show Big Brother.

Reveille continues the strategy. While its adaptation of the BBC show Coupling failed to find an audience for General Electric's NBC, the company found ratings gold with American versions of two other hits from overseas. NBC's The Office, originally a British sitcom, won an Emmy in August for best comedy. Ugly Betty, a new hit for the Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, is a Reveille production adapted from a popular Colombian telenovela, prime-time daily melodramas that are hugely popular in Latin America. The company also produces NBC's The Biggest Loser and USA Network's Nashville Star and will debut a prime-time NBC game show in December called Identity, in which contestants guess the identities of a group of strangers.
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