Running Hooks Pictures to produce reality TV pilot

Survivor's Amanda Kimmel and The Real World's Trishelle Cannatella will feature in the TV competition series set around the international poker tournament circuit.

Montreal indie producer Running Hooks Pictures until six months ago was ready to shoot The Grind,  a theatrical feature with Jerry Ciccoritti attached as a director about a woman struggling through life while looking to become a professional poker player.

But the project, produced by Josh Kimmel and Andy Bloch, ran into a roadblock not of its own making when the U.S. Department of Justice suddenly targeted the online gambling world with criminal charges and arrests.

So, looking to avoid unfavorable publicity, Kimmel put The Grind on hold until the online poker world sorts out its problems with U.S. federal prosecutors, and instead is pushing ahead instead with Living the Life, a reality TV series that features U.S. reality TV veterans Amanda Kimmel and Trishelle Cannatella competing against one another on and around the international poker tournament circuit.

“The girls will be doing some of the biggest and most grandiose things they’ve done throughout their trip, and we look forward to showing them living the life,” Josh Kimmel, who is no relation to Amanda Kimmel,  told Playback Daily.

Both Amanda Kimmel, a former Miss Montana who was a runner-up contestant on Survivor: China and Survivor: Micronesia, and Cannatella (The Real World), will feature in a two-part pilot to shoot in Los Angeles and Barcelona, Spain between August 14 and 24.

Casting for Living the Life initially brought Cannatella, an experienced poker player, on board.

Then Josh Kimmel looked to pair Cannatella up with another reality TV star “where they are both attractive and can both get what they want in certain situations,” he explained.

Enter Amanda Kimmel, who won’t meet Cannatella before the first day of shooting to raise the drama factor.

Josh Kimmel, who’s an avid poker player himself, is betting that the TV following that Amanda Kimmel and Cannatella already enjoy, and their on-screen reality TV personas, will prove engaging to a new worldwide TV audience.

“It’s about them living the life, and doing things and playing a game and travelling the world and making money at it,” he explained.