Producers of a new reality television show called ``Starting Over'' are getting a dose of reality from angry residents of an upscale neighborhood who don't want the program to set up shop near them.
Some homeowners in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood are suing to stop producers from using a nearby home to house and film six women as they try to ``reinvent their lives'' for a series to air this fall. Other residents have protested to city officials, worried the show might attract unsavory characters.
The lawsuit filed Friday alleges that Bunim/Murray Productions, which also has produced MTV's ``The Real World,'' is violating zoning law because it is a commercial enterprise. The suit also contends the house renovation goes beyond what's allowed in the building permit.
``This is basically pitting reality against reality TV,'' said Rick Wolfe, a lawyer for the five home owners who sued.
Robert Fioretti, an attorney representing the owner of the property in dispute, said the project complies with all laws and building codes.
Some residents cite a notice on the Internet inviting former gang members, former prison inmates or spouses of prison inmates to try out for the show.
``However you look at it, it's a halfway house for a bunch of malcontents,'' Cynthia Metivier, a 27-year resident. She added the producers have blamed the notice on an overzealous casting assistant, saying it did not reflect the kind of women they were looking for.
``They say we're bringing an unsavory character to the neighborhood (and) that's not what we're doing,'' Jim Johnston, one of the show's producers, said Wednesday.
In a letter to residents, the producers said that ``under the guidance of two life counselors, each woman will try to realize what they truly want out of life - but never had the motivation to achieve.''