NEW YORK, April 1 - Applied Biosystems has received a multimillion-dollar contract from the Fox Television Network to supply real-time paternity testing technology for a new reality TV show to be called "American Love Child." The show will premiere on Fox this fall.
The contract calls for ABI to develop so-called "Reali-Tyme PCR" technology that will allow a reliable paternity test--from blood draw to results--to be completed in one hour in front of a live studio audience.
"The technology is what makes the show's concept possible," Mike Darnell, executive vice president for alternative programming and specials at Fox, said in a statement.
Each episode of American Love Child will feature the mother of a newborn, her baby, and three men who are (as all will admit) possible fathers. Blood will be drawn from each by a highly-trained model/phlebotomist. The samples will be prepped using ABI's proprietary new "Prime Time Primers" and the analysis performed in real time on an instrument inside a glass cubicle on stage.
Meanwhile, the show will explore the history of the relationships between the mother and the potential fathers, and each man will explain his intentions should he turn out to be the "real" father. The audience then votes for its favorite "father" and the show concludes with the revelation of the test results and presentation of a college scholarship to the newborn. (The scholarships will be from Australia's Murdoch University, named for the great-uncle of Fox chief Rupert Murdoch.)
The Reali-Tyme technology will be based on ABI's popular ABRFL Identifiler paternity testing kit, according to sources close to the project, and analyses will run on a modified PRISM 310 Genetic Analyzer. Among the modifications, according to Darnell, will be "additional screens and moving parts" to make it more visually stimulating and "many more" flashing lights to reflect off the sequined lab coats of the on-stage technicians.
"We see this collaboration as the logical next step in the evolution of genomics technology and prime-time reality television," added Darnell. "It is the shiznit."