Like them or loathe them, you have a New Canaan resident to thank (or blame) for such reality TV shows as "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Big Brother," "Fear Factor," "Deal or No Deal" and many others. David Goldberg, Chairman of production powerhouse Endemol North America and a 1981 graduate of , has even more programs coming to a TV set near you.
This summer, his company will present "Love in the Wild" on NBC. In this series, 10 single men and 10 single women— all everyday people — will try the equivalent of speed dating in a remote Costa Rican jungle until there's only one couple left.
"They are people who have regular jobs," he told a group of journalists at a publicity event sponsored by NBC on April 15. "They are firemen. They are policemen. They are lawyers. They are doctors. They aren't your typical reality contestants who just want to come on these shows and rip off their clothes and show their bodies and get their 15 minutes of fame."
And if anyone knows about "typical reality contestants," it is Goldberg. After he joined the U.S. branch of Endemol in 2000, he turned the company into a veritable geyser for reality shows, many of them enormous hits.
In addition to "Love in the Wild," hosted by Australian star Darren McMullen, other upcoming summer shows Goldberg oversees are "101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow" on ABC, a new season of "Jerseylicious" (Style Network), "Glam Fairy" (a "Jerseylicious" spinoff) and "Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals" (OWN).
Also this summer, a new scripted series, "Hell on Wheels," an historical drama set against the backdrop of the building of America's earliest railroads, goes into production for AMC.
Goldberg can only guess at the reaction to his success from those who remember him from his days in New Canaan. "I think one of shock and surprise," he ventured. "I mean I was not an overachiever growing up. I wasn't the one anyone would have labeled 'Most Likely to Succeed.' "
The son of , and his wife, Trudy, a college professor, David attributed some of his success to their interest in film. He also said that a course in high school on the art and history of film, taught by Keith McBain had a powerful influence on his future direction.
"I remember we'd go into the auditorium and he would give us a little introduction into the film we were about to see. Then we'd watch the film and have to do papers on it," Goldberg said.
Goldberg hasn't attended high school reunions and he offered 'red-carpet treatment' in Los Angeles in exchange for the New Canaan Patch not reprinting his yearbook photo. "I'm a much better looking person than I was then. At least, that's what they tell me. So I'd like to preserve my new image."
These days he frequently travels to New Canaan to visit his parents. And, if the occasion ever arises, he'd love to shoot a series in his home town"That would be great," he said. "Maybe we'll do 'The Real Housewives of New Canaan,'" he joked. "'The Ice Storm' was filmed in my home town. In fact, it was filmed on my street in a house that I knew quite well. It didn't give New Canaan a particularly good image. I'll have to come back and rehabilitate it."