General News

CBS plans "Beverly Hillbillies" Reality Series

By:
Aug 28, 2002 | 11:14am EDT

Whew, doggies! If you thought the Osbournes were an odd fit for posh 90210, wait until a real-life version of the Clampett clan loads up the truck and moves to Beverly Hills.

Variety reports that CBS is taking Elly Mae up on her invitation--"Y'all come back now, y'hear?"--and reviving its classic series The Beverly Hillbillies with a reality-show twist, transplanting a real-life lower-middle-class rural family (including their granny) in a mega-money Beverly Hills mansion for one year, where they'll live in the lap of luxury and have the chance to earn their own substantial cash rewards.

In the show, tentatively titled The Real Beverly Hillbillies, cameras will follow the countrified family's every move as they are provided with everything from maid service to personal assistants. The immediate clan of five or six will occasionally be visited by their extended family--just in time for lunch at Spago and power shopping on Rodeo Drive, no doubt.

"It's a great fish-out-of-water story," said CBS vice president of alternative programming Ghen Maynard. "A lot of it will be funny, but a lot of it will be real. We want to find a family that's different from what most people know but still relatable, a family that loves each other a lot...who has a sense of humor about themselves." A hotline is expected to open within days for potential families who want to audition.

CBS produced 274 episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, which aired from 1962 until 1971. At one point the show was TV's No. 1 program, attracting up to 60 million viewers weekly. With a lineup that included Green Acres The Andy Griffith Show, CBS dominated ratings in rural communities. The network, which bought the new pitch immediately, still owns the right to The Beverly Hillbillies title.

"The intent is to be respective but at the same time enjoy the humor that comes from the fish-out-of-water scenario of the show," Maynard said, insisting it will not mock rural culture. "Imagine the episode where they have to interview maids."

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