TV Pilot’s Producer Tries to Allay Parent Concerns
• Says Program with MHS Students Will Be ‘Innocent’
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
A flurry of critical emails between Malibu High School parents who are concerned about a possible reality TV show that might present a slanted perspective on Malibu teens prompted the producer of a pilot program being made on spec to respond.
Lexi von der Leith told the Malibu Surfside News that parents who expressed those concerns last week “should not worry.”
“We haven’t even started shooting the show,” von der Leith told The News. “My partner and I both grew up in Malibu and want to make a great show about how wonderful going to high school was in Malibu.”
Von der Leith, a professional surfer who grew up in Malibu and attended MHS and Pepperdine University, says she envisions the show as a Malibu version of the popular 2004 MTV reality show “Laguna Beach,” which revolved around the lives of Orange County high school students.
However, that show came in for its share of criticism for explicit sexuality and profanity, as well as being embroiled in the debate surrounding nearly all so-called reality programming, that it actually was often scripted. The wealthy teens in the O.C. spent much of their time shopping and partying.
However, von der Leith said of her proposed series, “It’s a girl drama, but [it’s] innocent, no drinking or anything.” She said, “The production company, along with all the producers, want people to watch the show and remember how fun high school was.”
Von der Leith confirmed that auditions have taken place, and that there are 10 prospective student-actors, although she said that the final number is expected to be reduced to seven—four girls and three boys.
“We’ve been in contact with the parents,” von der Leith said. “I wouldn’t do anything to hurt these kids. We aren’t exploiting them. We have a great group of kids together, and I don’t want people getting scared that we’re taking advantage of them. These kids are like brothers and sisters to me, and I’m protective of them.”
Von der Leith explained that she plans to pitch the program to MTV once all of the pieces are in place, but that nothing has been signed yet.
“I hope that we can do a project that warms people’s hearts,” she said.