PBS sets first cross-country competition show


Think reality competition shows are low-brow fare fit only for commercial TV? If that’s your view, you’ll be shocked by what PBS is bringing to public television this summer.

“Market Wars” is the working title for the 20-episode series developed by the producers of “Antiques Roadshow,” which is, after all, a reality show. PBS says the new series “gives audiences a lesson in the bare-knuckles business of scoring a bargain.”

The pitch:

“In each one-hour episode, professional antiques dealers put their reputations on the line – as they’re pitted against the clock, a budget and each other – and embark on nationwide treasure hunts, scouring flea markets and antiques shops for vintage valuables. The goal: to score the biggest profit in each show’s final auction segment.”

“Antiques Roadshow has been the leader in the popular antiques and collectibles genre for a long time,” said Marsha Bemko, executive producer of the long-running series. “Market Wars turns its lens on the antiques experts themselves and the real, rough-and-tumble competition they face in the marketplace.”

In each episode, four antiques professionals compete head-to-head, foraging for items and taking them to auction. Market Wars follows the experts on their pursuits, highlighting the marvels that different areas of the country can offer the intrepid antiques hunter. The expert who makes the highest total profit at auction in each episode is named the winner, earning bragging rights for toppling his peers. With affectionate humor, Market Wars follows the combatants, gleaning the best tactics from the battlefield and arming viewers to pursue their own successful treasure hunts.

“PBS continues to implement our primetime strategy to combine new shows with popular, like-minded content,” said John F. Wilson, PBS senior vice president & chief TV programming executive. “We’ve had great success pairing natural history and science programming on Wednesday nights. We’re confident that teaming Market Wars with Antiques Roadshow will even more firmly anchor Monday nights as a popular viewing destination for exploration and history.”