On the Block Selected to Compete in New York Television Festival

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Reality show featuring real estate auctions will compete for prize money and possible development deal.

I knew that once they heard the idea and met George they would be as enthusiastic as I was.

According to Executive Producers, George Collias and Matthew Haddad, On the Block will compete against 22 television pilots this September 12-17 in New York city for $10,000 and the chance for a development deal. The pilot will feature actual real estate auctions conducted by George Collias, a licensed auctioneer. According to Matthew Haddad, a Los Angeles attorney, "I thought that the concept of auctioning real estate on TV would be entertaining to watch and relevant with so many people involved in real estate from owning homes to working in the industry." He then needed an auctioneer. His first call was to George Collias, an old friend who happened to be a licensed real estate auctioneer in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. According to George" He had a tough time convincing me...I mean he saw entertainment and I just looked it as my job." But one day on a group fishing trip to Cabo San Lucas, they determined that the time was right to create a show. Haddad who describes Collias as a cross between Danny DeVito and Emeril Lagasse, "He was meant to be on screen, a real natural." Wareham O'Donnell productions agreed. By chance, Haddad met Gwen O'Donnell at a neighbor's party in Santa Monica. "I knew that once they heard the idea and met George they would be as enthusiastic as I was." It was love at first sight and within two weeks the W&O team decided to take on the project and shoot the On the Block pilot on location in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Show

In the pilot, George Collias and host former Miss America Leanza Cornett conduct auctions of a variety of real estate including quaint Victorian homes and not so quaint commercial establishments. The show not only offers a rare glimpse into the drama of the auction itself, but looks behind the scenes exposing the world of the people involved from the building owners to the bidders and their families. The viewer will learn why the property is being auctioned, the history of the property, the motivations of the bidders and the unforeseen events that happen.

Why Auctions on TV?

Most people have never been to an auction of any kind. Auctions are generally associated with wealthy individuals bidding on collections behind closed doors or distress sales of real estate or other property such as cars, boats etc. as a result of court order. Yet behind the scenes auctions are a part of everyone’s daily life. The auction format is used every time a publicly traded stock is purchased and now millions use EBay to purchase countless goods, including real estate. But until On the Block, the entertainment value of the public auction has never been exploited. It is equivalent to watching a game show where the outcome is uncertain until the very end. The excitement swirls around the auctioneer who controls the pace and can impart a unique showmanship to the proceedings for which television is the ultimate medium. With real estate being the property up for grabs, On the Block taps into a deep source of consumer interest and financial security.

About the New York Television Festival

The NYTVF was founded in 2005 as the industry’s first recognized platform for independent television. Held annually in the fall in New York City, the birthplace of modern television, the Festival unites artists, executives, industry figures, and fans together in one forum to celebrate the medium and to help shape its future. Along with the Independent Pilot Competition, the Festival features panel discussions, premiere screenings, and other special events designed to honor television as an institution and as an art form.

For more information on the NYTVF, please visit http://www.newyorktelevisionfestival.com.

About MSN and Windows Live

MSN attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft® Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.


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Matthew Haddad
On the Block, LLC
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