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W.Va. teens 'Buck Wild' in new MTV show

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- MTV hopes a new "reality" show set in West Virginia will find "Jersey Shore" success, but state officials aren't on board with the idea.

"Buck Wild" will star a group of friends and recent high school graduates in rural West Virginia, according to TV Guide.

The show, "will include a wide range of kids across the socio-economic strata -- from the more well off kids living 'up in the hills' to the working-class kids down 'in the holler,'" according to TV Guide.

Pam Haynes, director of the West Virginia Film Office, said New Remote Productions Inc., which has worked on several projects for MTV, applied twice -- once in May and once in July -- for a state tax credit. They were denied both times, out of fear the show would cast the state in a negative light.

The West Virginia Film Industry Investment Act affords tax credits to filmmakers and production companies, up to 31 percent credit, if they film in West Virginia.

"The legislation is clear that a production company can't participate in the program if it shows West Virginia in a derogatory manner," Haynes said.

"Jersey Shore," MTV's most viewed series ever, has drawn criticism for its depiction of Italian-Americans.

The executive producer of "Buck Wild," J.P. Williams of Parallel Entertainment, is a native West Virginian who is best known for creating Blue Collar Comedy, featuring comedians Jeff  Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and others. Williams was not available for comment Monday.

Filming of "Buck Wild" will take place in Sissonville and Charleston, among other possible locations, Haynes said. She said she could not reveal details about the company's application, but said all applicants must give a general synopsis of their production's theme.

"The tax incentive program ... is about making sure that an applicant has at least good intentions in representing the state," she said.

MTV programming head David Janollari told TV Guide "these budding adults take part in regional pastimes like mud racing, squirrel hunting and rope swinging."

According to a news release from MTV about the show's cast, "Whether they're working local jobs, studying in college or just getting by, they share a deep pride in contemporary small-town American life and a passion for living it to the fullest while making up their own rules as they go."

West Virginia is no stranger to cameras. In 2009, "The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia" chronicled "Dancing Outlaw" Jesco White and his Boone County family in a feature-length documentary. The MTV show "Teen Mom 2" followed Elkview native Leah Messer throughout her teenage pregnancy.

CBS idea in 2002 for "The Real Beverly Hillbillies," which would have dropped rural Appalachians in the middle of Beverly Hills, was scrapped after being highly criticized.

Production for "Buck Wild" is expected to begin in the spring, an MTV spokeswoman said Monday. According to TV Guide, a presentation reel was already shot earlier this year.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com 304-348-1723.

 


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