Fox has signed a deal with producer Scott Satin (“Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”) for the tentatively titled “Smile! You’re Under Arrest.”
Variety says the basic premise of the comedic project is that unaware criminal suspects with outstanding warrants are lured out of hiding with promises of riches and other rewards, only to discover that they’ve been duped by law-enforcement officials.
“Unlike ‘Punk’d,’ where things start out bad, this shows starts out being the best day of your life,” said Fox alternative president Mike Darnell. “Everything is fantastic. Then you find out you’re under arrest.”
Fox and Satin are working with Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose unconventional (and controversial) tactics have earned him the rep of “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” Arpaio’s officers are handling the mechanics of the sting and targeting which potential criminals to go after.
While Satin came up with the idea for the show, the sorts of sting operations at the center of the show have been conducted by numerous law-enforcement agencies across the country.
The trade says that much of the pilot has already been staged, and so far, Fox hasn’t had problems getting the alleged criminals to appear on camera. “Everyone’s signed a release,” Darnell said.
One reason the bandits may be happy: Fox isn’t completely stiffing the fugitives. “If we say you’re going to get $200 if you show up, we give it to you,” he said.