Hundreds come to Darien’s ‘Beat Shazam’ premiere
DARIEN — Even for Rich Riley, CEO of the music-identifying app Shazam and executive producer of the new Fox game show, “Beat Shazam,” working with a television super-producer was nerve-wracking.
“Almost exactly a year ago, Mark Burnett and some execs from Fox came to my office in New York and pitched me on this. And I was trying to pretend to be Hollywood, sophisticated and savvy. But I was really like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Mark Burnett,’ ” Riley, a New Canaan resident, said to a crowd of several hundred at the Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien on May 25 at a local premier of the new show he helped to create.
The show — which grabbed more viewers to Fox than any other network that night, the first time Fox had claimed the top spot in a year — will run for 14 episodes and is the most-expensive game show in history.
“I can tell you that if it’s not successful, it’s not for lack of investments on the part of Fox, or effort. This is the most-expensive game show ever produced. The set cost $1 million,” Riley said, just before the 8 p.m. premiere to an excited crowd. “Fox has been spending over $1 million a week for cash advertising, in addition to ongoing promotion.”
“Mark (Burnett) always wanted to get Jamie Foxx, which was actually really, really hard to get, even for Mark,” Riley said. “We wanted Jamie because he’s a quadruple threat. He’s an Academy Award-winning actor, Grammy Award-winning musician; he’s a comedian, he’s a dancer and he uses all those skills on the show.”
Though it was conceived over the course of a year, all 14 episodes were filmed in Los Angeles the week prior to the premiere — a tight schedule for Riley, his staff and the contestants.
“It was surreal,” Riley said.