Gary Susman
October 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Back when he was a stand-up comic, Steve Martin used to joke that he’d learned just enough in college to screw him up for the rest of his life, but now, he wants high school kids to get serious about higher education. According to trade reports, he’s one of the producers of a new reality show, called The Scholar, in which 15 underprivileged high school students will compete for scholarship money by demonstrating their accomplishments in such college-application fields as academics, leadership, school spirit, and community service. Martin’s teaming up with reality production house Bunim-Murray (The Real World) and sitcom vets Carsey-Werner (who, years ago, produced the college-themed A Different World). ABC, which has a current hit in another do-gooder reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is already looking for kids who can begin competing this spring. ”We’re looking at leadership qualities, charisma, intelligence, all the things it takes,” ABC reality VP Andrea Wong told Variety. ”The different challenges will all be organic to the application process.” As for the things kids will actually learn when they get to college — drinking to excess, having messy romantic relationships with their dormmates, arguing over who ate all the peanut butter — well, that’s what The Real World is for.

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