Viva owners to appear on new TV show

In new Dave show Money Pit Leye D Johns, right, gets into the bidding war
In new Dave show Money Pit Leye D Johns, right, gets into the bidding war
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An entertainer and his business partner are about set to pit themselves against investors in a new TV show.

Leye D Johns and Martin Heywood, of Viva cabaret venue, will be among the stars of Money Pit, a series launching on Dave.

The duo were picked by producers after shooting a pilot at the Church Street entertainment venue for a show which is still in development.

Money Pit sees comedian Jason Manford ‘play ringmaster’ as amateur investors, including Leye and Martin, choose from ‘entrepreneurs, inventors, tradespeople artisans and tech creators’ to benefit from their funds – which are anything from £100 to £20,000.

In return, the ‘strong-willed investors’ get a share of the company or a special reward.

Billed as a kind of Dragons’ Den, the show taps into the crowdfunding trend, where people can put money into schemes promoted online for various returns dependent on how much they spend.

Viva managing director Martin said: “We were invited into the show as they’d liked our personalities when we shot the pilot with them.

“The people come forward, pitch their business or scheme - some of them are things like community projects, for two minutes, get questioned by Jason Manford, then the investors make their decision.”

He said he and Viva host Leye put in a ‘five figure sum’ between them, with £250,000 in total up for grabs each episode, and hoped to start seeing some of their investments returned and rewards coming through once the show airs on the freeview channel, from Thursday night, at 7.30pm.

“There were other people like Leye there, who are very entertaining on the investors’ floor and then a lot of Joe Bloggs people too,” Martin added. “I spotted certain media-type propositions, thanks to my background with web development, for example an online dating scheme - which is something I’ve worked on before.

“We’ve had some of our rewards, but most of the deals are on hold until the programme goes out.”

They spent a full week filming the series at London’s Alexandra Palace back in July, and there’s already talk of signing up for a second run.

A show spokesman said: “Fast-paced and funny, it’s the power of the crowd – as entrepreneurs compete for investors’ cash in Money Pit.

“There’s everything to play for - because investors can change their minds right up to the end of each episode, when there will be frantic, last-minute movements of money as the crowd flocks to one entrepreneur and abandon another.”