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Thread: ABC Pulls 'Neighborhood' Reality Series

  1. #21
    Leave No Trace ADKLove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holcombville
    Speedbump has it right. I don't want any special interest groups dictating what I should or shouldn't watch. All that we'll be left with is "Knitting with the Stars."
    I, too, agree with speedbump.

    Hmmmm..... "Knitting with the Stars" - is that the one with Trista?
    Love many, trust a few, and always paddle your own canoe

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AIWANNABE
    Though I really wanted to see this I completly understand why it was shelved. This is a show that gives three of the most racist and prejudice families all the power. There is something wrong with that.
    Here here, this needed to be said.

    I think there is a difference between looking at how race relations work in a neighbourhood, and giving power to white conservative religious families to "decide" what is good or bad.

    Everyone talks about stereotypes in reference to the minority families, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some very bad representation from the three "judging" families -- I am sure there were a lot of racist and homophobic comments made, which probably did not sit well with ABC.

  3. #23
    FORT Fogey BubbleBunny's Avatar
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    I know the niece of the creator of this show, and she and her family are furious. She's a teacher at my high school (I've been in her class) and she's known for being a full-out liberal/minorities supporter. Her family is just like that(she told us), so I think that the show would have portrayed the families in "power" really badly and probably sparked some "controversy" as well because "white-conservative" families would complain about being portrayed inaccurately. It would have been interesting, but I am glad it was pulled. It would have rubbed everyone the wrong way.
    A recent survey stated that the average person's greatest fear is having to give a speech in public. Somehow this ranked even higher than death which was third on the list. So, you're telling me that at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the coffin than have to stand up and give a eulogy.
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  4. #24
    For Your Entertainment lobeck's Avatar
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    What was ABC thinking?
    Yanked 'Neighborhood' catches it from all sides

    Monday, July 4, 2005; Posted: 9:34 a.m. EDT (13:34 GMT)

    NEW YORK (AP) -- ABC's extraordinary cancellation of "Welcome to the Neighborhood" less than two weeks before its premiere proves that reality television can only handle so much reality.

    With a threatened lawsuit and accusations the network was tone deaf to bigotry, ABC may have traded a major headache for the temporary embarrassment of throwing out a series that was already finished.

    But executives must surely be hearing uncomfortable questions about how ABC got so close to the brink in the first place.

    The six-episode summer series, which was to debut July 10, was heavily promoted and given the plum "Desperate Housewives" time slot. ABC saw it as the potential hit follow-up to "Dancing With the Stars."

    "Welcome to the Neighborhood" followed three families in a comfortable cul-de-sac near Austin, Texas, given the chance to choose who moves in when a neighbor moves out of a 3,300-square-foot home on their block. Each family is white, conservative and initially interested in neighbors like them.

    Instead, they have a rainbow coalition of choices: a black family; a Hispanic family; an Asian family; two gay white men who've adopted a black boy; a couple covered in tattoos and piercings; a couple who met at the woman's initiation as a witch; and a white family where mom is a stripper.

    After the usual reality show contrivances -- voting a family out each week after a competition to give one family immunity -- the winning family gets the house.

    The idea is to see preconceptions, even prejudices, break down as the white homeowners get to know the competitors as people instead of stereotypes.

    But you can't show a transformation without illustrating what people are transforming from.

    "Why should people of color and others ... be humiliated and degraded to teach white people not to be bigots?" said Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance. "That's not good for race relations in America."

    Within the first two episodes, one man made a crack about the number of children piling out of the Hispanic family's car. The citizenry of the business-owning Asian family was questioned and displays of affection between the gay men were met with disgust.

    Anger about the series even united the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (which found it "really disturbing" to watch privileged couples vote out families they don't like) with the Family Research Council (which worried that conservative Christians would appear like overly judgmental buffoons).

    Smith said it was illegal for homeowners to pick and choose neighbors. Her group was readying a lawsuit, saying the series frustrated all their efforts to see that people are not discriminated against in seeking housing.

    The protests clearly blind-sided ABC.

    "I didn't think that people would be this nervous," Andrea Wong, head of alternative programming at ABC, said before Wednesday's decision to ditch the show. "Because I really think it's such a positive show and such a good thing to put on TV and cause viewers to look at themselves, I'm surprised by the negative reaction to it."

    ABC's lawyers gave "Welcome to the Neighborhood" the go-ahead, and it apparently didn't disturb Wong when the family that shared her Asian-American descent was the first to be knocked out.

    Wong was not giving interviews after the cancellation. Series producers Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh also weren't talking.

    Smith, who had seen tapes of the first two episodes, was disturbed at a lack of balance. Competing families couldn't address biases because remarks weren't made in their presence; besides, they were on their best behavior to win a house they could otherwise not afford.

    ABC said last week that "given the sensitivity of the subject matter in early episodes we have decided not to air the series at this time."

    "You only sort of get half the story in watching the first two episodes," Blumenfield said before the cancellation. "You see the harshness, the entrenched points of view. These things kind of melt away as the humanity comes out. It was astonishing to watch and I think everyone felt very positive at the end."

    The progression was telegraphed by the tattooed Sheets family, the most instantly reviled by the homeowners. Yet the Sheets quickly bonded with the neighbors when they realize they're all Republicans, and one couple came to see them as versions of themselves a decade earlier.

    In talks with network President Alex Wallau, Smith said she was convinced ABC meant nothing malicious in preparing the show, and that ABC was unfamiliar with housing law.

    "We're still concerned it's not gone forever," she said, "and if there are any other attempts to air it, we are prepared to take legal action to stop it."

    Since producers clammed up after ABC's abrupt decision, Marsh wasn't available to address the irony of his words from just a week earlier.

    "One of the horrible things that is happening right now in this country is that people are so afraid of a healthy debate," he said. "Somehow if you put out a strong point of view you're either painting someone improperly or you're offending the people who might oppose that view. We don't believe that preconceptions and prejudices are something to hide. They're something explore and hopefully get over."

    The only good news for ABC is that for viewers, this is a tree falling in a very distant forest. Since the public won't see it, it will be hard for the public to get worked up.

    There's also good news for one of the eight competing families: the winner will still get the house, even if their moment of joy has been censored. To keep the secret, the family had not been allowed to move in until after the series was supposed to conclude in late August.

    An ABC spokeswoman declined to say who won.
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/TV/0....ap/index.html

  5. #25
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    Interesting, is it still cancelled?

    What I thought from seeing the advertising trailers, it looked to me like the original residents of the neighborhood were completely stereotypical at first, but then later on seemed to completely change their minds about the new potential residents. One of the clips even showed an emotional hug between an original resident and a newcomer.

    Maybe this series is far too controversial for regular network TV, but could possibly be aired on one of the cable networks. It reminds me of some of the documentaries I've seen on PBS, or some of the sociology experiments I've heard about.

    It definitely does raise a lot of sensitive issues regarding prejudice, discrimination, etc. But then again, so did "All In The Family" when it first aired.

    I also would have thought ABC's legal dept. would have researched and cleared everything before even allowing the filming of the series to begin.
    Last edited by Starwatcher; 07-08-2005 at 09:30 PM.

  6. #26
    Hook 'em Horns! muggle's Avatar
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    Hope someone is interested in reading this very interesting follow up to the show. It really had a great ending that we all missed out on:

    Article from Austin-American Statesman
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  7. #27
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    Wow, thanks for posting that Muggle. I was really looking forward to recapping the show. I'm glad it ended up having such a positive outcome.

  8. #28
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    Thanks for posting that follow-up article, Muggle. It would have made a powerful show to see Jim Stewart go from anti-gay ignorance to welcoming back his own gay son.
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  9. #29
    Hook 'em Horns! muggle's Avatar
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    I am still so disappointed about them not airing this show, even more so after that article. Racism and hatred exists, what's wrong with showing that in the real world and seeing someone overcome it by education? It's shameful ABC bowed to such pressure and distanced themself so quickly from this show.
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  10. #30
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    If I remember, and I'm too tired at the moment to go confirm, the articles that originally came out right before and after the show was cancelled said that the first one or two episodes had been sent to various gay and lesbian organizations and that the organizations were really upset. I wonder if they would have felt the same way if they had seen the pivotal episode described in the article where Jim Stewart started to see his new neighbors as people and the final outcome. I wish ABC would at least put the episodes on their website.

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