NBC Aims for "High Life"
Tue May 4, 3:00 AM ET
By Sarah Hall
NBC is hoping that viewers are ready for the anti-Paris Hilton.
The network has committed to a half-hour pilot for The High Life, an oeuvre from producer Ken Mok (America's Next Top Model) that capitalizes on the fish-out-of-water theme of The Simple Life--but in reverse.
Rather than unleashing rail-thin, Midas-rich celebutantes on Middle America, The High Life will bring Middle America to the 90210-set, ensconcing a rural family in the depths of a wealthy Los Angeles 'hood.
Mok covertly shot the pilot this spring--importing a rural family to Beverly Hills, setting them up in a mansion and feeding them escargot and organic produce and other things of that ilk for the better part of a week.
Sound familiar? It should--CBS began to develop a similar project a couple of years back: The Real Beverly Hillbillies. The series proposed to transplant an Appalachian family to Beverly Hills and film their day-to-day adventures in swankdom, with hilarity sure to ensue.
The concept was based on the popular '60s sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies--updated for the reality genre.
The idea met with heated opposition from special interest groups and politicians, including Georgia Senator Zell Miller, who claimed that the series would exploit its unsuspecting subjects. Development plans on the series seem to have been stalled ever since.
While neither NBC nor Mok had any comment on the future of The High Life, sources close to production indicated that the series would primarily be targeted at making fun of the rich and famous, with the rural family emerging as the show's underdog stars.
NBC is still deciding whether to greenlight the project to series.
Meanwhile, Fox's second season of The Simple Life kicks off June 16, with Paris and Nicole's triumphant return to foreign tasks such as working, driving and, of course, Wal-Mart shopping.