LOS ANGELES – Turns out even Steven Spielberg can't resist the lure of reality television.
The Oscar-winning director of films including "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" will join with reality TV mogul Mark Burnett for "On the Lot," a competition in which the winner receives a studio deal.
"All through my career I've done what I can to discover new talent and give them a start," Spielberg said in a statement Thursday. He called the series, scheduled to air next season on FOX, a chance to open "a much wider door."
A nationwide search, with details yet to be determined, will be conducted to find 16 finalists, FOX said. The group will be brought to Hollywood, divided into teams, then given the task of producing one short film each week.
Each weekly project will reflect a different genre, ranging from comedy to drama to horror, and professional writers, actors and crew will be made available, the network said.
"If the contestants are resourceful enough, they may even be able to land Hollywood celebrities to star in their films," according to FOX.
The films will be shown before a studio audience and panel of judges to include a movie executive, film critic and guests. TV viewers will decide which film is the loser and the team member who directed it will be out of the contest — a new twist on the term "director's cut."
The winner will be "whisked away to the DreamWorks studio, met by Steven Spielberg" and to an office on the lot and a development deal, FOX said. Terms of the deal weren't available, the network said.
Fox has some experience with talent contests: "American Idol," in its fifth cycle, is holding steady as television's most-watched show this season.
Burnett, whose series include "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," called the chance to work with Spielberg "a dream come true." They are the show's creators and executive producers.
This is the second time Burnett has teamed with DreamWorks (which recently became part of entertainment giant Viacom Inc.). Last year, he and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg produced the reality boxing contest "The Contender."
It was a ratings flop for NBC but was picked up for its second season by ESPN, starting in summer.