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Ashton Out to Ruin Your Life

The pranksters behind "Punk'd" (search) have a new trick up their sleeve -- a reality show in which they try and ruin people's lives.

"We find out everything there is to know about their friends and family, and essentially we give them a new friend," says executive producer Jason Goldberg (search), who directs "You've Got a Friend" (search) with "Punk'd" pal, Ashton Kutcher (search).

"It's fun, it gets dark, it's evil and we have not had a show where someone doesn't cry," says Goldberg.

In exchange for $15,000, a willing contestant is introduced to an improvisational actor who is told as many of the contestant's secrets and pet peeves as possible.

The new pal is then introduced to the victim's friends and family and attempts to expose all their secrets and thoroughly embarrass the contestant. The player only wins the money if the victim keeps his or her mouth shut and rolls with the punches.

"We set them up on meetings, dinners and breakfasts and parties with their friends and family," says Goldberg. "They have to go along with every single thing that this person says and does."

If, after about 48 hours, they have not revealed who the friend really is, they get to keep the money. The catch is, the contestants have no idea how long the torture will last.

The show is based on a similar show from the U.K. called "My New Best Friend."

Goldberg says that despite the show's dark premise, each episode teaches the victim some sort of moral lesson -- and it's good exposure for the up-and-coming improv actor who plays the evil "friend."

So essentially, he and Kutcher are using their powers for good.

Right.

For the unenlightened, Goldberg and Kutcher ("That '70s Show") are two of the hottest young TV directors in the industry.

MTV's "Punk'd" — a show in which unwitting celebrities are duped into elaborate hidden camera pranks — has become so popular, the title of the show has slipped into popular vocabulary to replace the phrase "practical joke."

"You've Got a Friend" debuts Oct. 24 as part of MTV's revamped Sunday Stew programming block. It's flanked by "Pimp My Ride" — the show in which rapper Xzibit and a group of custom auto builders fix up junkie cars for deserving owners.

Sunday Stew also includes "Viva La Bam," a spin-off of "Jackass," in which skateboard pro Bam Margera wreaks havoc on his unsuspecting friends and family.

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