No longer content with simply flinging heavily made-up acrobats at tourists, Cirque Du Soleil Media entered the increasingly crowded scripted-TV big top in January, signing a first-look deal with 20th Century Fox Television. And just like the enterprising Quebecers who first dared to combine the crowd-pleasing acts of the circus with the straight-faced pretensions of performance art, the first Cirque Du Soleil project to materialize from a Fox Television first look is a startling hybrid that shouldn’t work at all, but could easily get butts in the seats at $69 a pop. According to Deadline, Fox’s broadcast arm has ordered a script for Paradiso, a Cirque-produced soap about a girl who aspires to perform at the premier nightlife spot in the fictional city of San Lorenzo.
Should the imprimatur of the people who brought you The Beatles LOVE prove insufficiently precious (and if a setting that’s based on Havana in the 1950s—presumably pre-revolution—doesn’t do the trick either), there’s this feat of elevator-pitch contortion direct from the Deadline report: “Paradiso explores what would happen if a character like Amelie from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s movie went into a place like the Moulin Rouge, with exhilarating performances every week.” The Jeunet and/or Baz Luhrman of the piece is Yaniv Roz, who previously tried his hand at minor-league Michel Gondryisms in 2011’s Son Of Morning. Fox has made a script commitment to Paradiso with penalty, meaning the network will have to pay a fee to the Cirque folks if the show doesn’t move forward—likely in the form of a shoe full of glitter or a child’s smile.