Movies & TV

TV show seeks teen rebels for reality show

The cast of MTV's 'Buckwild,' a show in the same vein as what 'My Teen Life' promises to be. AP

NEW YORK: A television producer is seeking teenagers as young as 13 who like to make their own rules and "party like a rock star" to participate in a reality television series about their lives.

A Los Angeles-based casting company, Metal Flowers Media, placed a notice about the series "My Teen Life" in Backstage, a publication widely followed by entertainment professionals for job leads. The company said producers of "The Real Housewives of New York City" are looking for boys and girls ages 13 to 18 to cast.

"Parents, teachers and the haters are always in your business, but it's your life and you live it how you want to," the Backstage ad said. "If you're a modern-day teenage rebel with a hardcore lifestyle, we want to hear your story."

Kristi Russell, president of Metal Flowers Media, said Tuesday she is contractually not allowed to divulge details about "My Teen Life." But she drew a comparison to casting for the A&E series "Intervention," where substance abusers are confronted by loved ones who encourage them to seek treatment. "Intervention" is about trying to save people's lives, she said.

"Anyone who knows Metal Flowers Media will immediately understand what we are up to," Russell said. "I can say with a deeply ardent conviction and with 100 percent confidence that this series does not intend to exploit troubled teens, nor glamorize their lifestyle. In fact, the intent is quite the opposite."

Russell would not say who is producing the series, or what network is interested in buying it.

The casting notice had a flyer attached that includes this message: "(expletive) parents. They're old and don't know (expletive). It's 4:20 and time for your friend Molly to tell your story." Molly is the name of a synthetic drug popular with many young fans of electronic dance music.

There is no such series in the works at Shed Media US, which produces "The Real Housewives of New York City," said Jon Marcus, the company's senior vice president of development. It's possible that someone who once worked at "Real Housewives" is involved, but he said he was unaware of the project.

Meanwhile, the CMT network announced Tuesday that it would premiere a series called "My Dysfunctional Family" on July 5. It features a man, Dave Vitalli, described as a "self-styled commando family fixer" who helps troubled teens and their families deal with issues like addiction and abandonment. The series is produced by Shed Media U.S.

It's not clear whether "My Dysfunctional Family" is actually the series advertised as "My Teen Life." CMT officials were not immediately available for comment. Marcus would not come to the phone to talk about "My Dysfunctional Family" late Tuesday.

Shed has produced a range of unscripted series including "Hollywood Exes" and "Basketball Wives" on VH1, "SuperNanny" on ABC and "Bethenny Ever After" on Bravo. Similarly, the Metal Flowers Media website lists more than 100 programs that it has helped find participants for, including "Naked & Afraid" on Discovery, "Top Guns" on History, "1000 Ways to Die" on Spike and "Storage Wars" on A&E.

Bravo said it hasn't commissioned "My Teen Life" or any series like it.

There's certainly a market for television about young people behaving badly, as MTV learned with the success of "Buckwild," a series about hard-living West Virginia residents that ended abruptly last year following the death of a cast member.

"I think parents will be incensed at this kind of thing," said Stanley Goldstein, a psychologist from Middletown, New York, and author of "Troubled Children/Troubled Parents: The Way Out."

Many young people - and perhaps their parents - would not have the insight to understand what being put in such a television spotlight could mean for their lives, he said.

 

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