Under the terms posted on the Web site for applicants, in order to appear on the program, would-be contestants had to agree to remain in the "Pauper to Princess House" for the first half of 2008 and enter into a broader contract with Dream House Productions. Applicants agree to "comply with the rules of Pauper to Princess," according to the terms.
NeJame said that the pilot was being shopped around by Brilleman and partners Jim Johnson and Diana Evans, who have not been charged, but that it had not been picked up by any network yet.
On the Web site, contestants are shown working out and volunteering at a charity.
"Our goal is to show these girls that they are somebody," the narrator says. "To help them grow physically, mentally and spiritually."
A women is shown during her audition being asked what makes her a "pauper." She says because she is "poor white trash" who lived with her boyfriend in a house with no water or power for a year.
"If you can turn me into a princess, I'd like to see you try."
NeJame would not comment on the specifics of the contract signed by the eight contestants on the show.
While the show's producers claim that the concept was hatched in 2007, the pilot shares a similar theme with a British program titled "Ladette to Lady" that had a three-season run in the United Kingdom. It was canceled early this year.
The producers of the show may have been beaten to the punch. Donald Trump, the real estate magnate and personality behind the reality program the "The Apprentice," recently sold an eight-episode takeoff to MTV, in which 15 women vie to for a charm school crown, Daily Variety reported late last month.
They are all variations on an age-old theme; the best example may be the 1913 George Bernard Shaw play "Pygmalion," in which college professor Henry Higgins makes a bet with a friend that he can teach a cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle to pass herself off as a woman of high society.
In the case of "Pauper to Princess," the jilted contestants may have been taken advantage of, according to police -- sort of like Doolittle.
"I don't think they really knew what they got themselves involved in," Miller said. "The producer and the owner of the residence convinced them this was going to be sold by major markets."