Though many reality shows have not met ratings expectations, the success of the "American Idol" premiere underscores the belief among network executives that unscripted TV shows, with low production costs and high profits, will remain cash cows for many seasons to come. Shows in development include ABC's "The Scholar," in which 15 ambitious teens vie for a college scholarship, CBS' Tommy Hilfiger-hosted "The Cut" and NBC's yet-unnamed show that will select the next "Saturday Night Live" cast member.

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