TV show seeks teen rebels
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."
The casting notice had an advertisement 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.
An employee at Metal Flowers Media said last Friday the company had wrapped casting for the proposed series. The person, who declined to give her name, said Metal Flowers isn't involved with the show's production and the project now was out of the casting company's hands. She didn't provide casting details and she didn't know the production company behind the idea. Metal Flowers isn't customarily informed if a pilot it has cast is picked up as a series and was unaware of its status, she said.
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.
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, 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.
Producers would at least face questions about a series if it glamorizes drug and alcohol use by underage participants. It sounds like producers are setting themselves up for a lawsuit, Goldstein said.
"It's a poor idea," he said. "It doesn't show great sophistication. But then again, a lot of television doesn't."