Controversy Flares Over Amish Reality Show

March 4, 2004

Source: The New York Times

On March 4, 2004 The New York Times reported, "Several weeks ago UPN, a sister network to CBS, announced a new reality series tentatively called 'Amish in the City,' in which Amish teenagers would face the shock and temptations of the big city for the first time. The idea seemed similar to CBS's plan last year to fashion a reality comedy out of a 1960's sitcom, calling it 'The Real Beverly Hillbillies.' which was to follow the lives of a rural, lower-middle-class family as it moved into a luxurious Beverly Hills house. That plan foundered when rural groups protested that the show was intended to denigrate the rural poor. 'We couldn't do the `Beverly Hillbillies,' ' Leslie Moonves, the CBS chairman, who also oversees UPN, told television critics and reporters in January. But the Amish, he joked, 'don't have quite as good a lobbying effort.' Mr. Moonves may have been mistaken. Within the last few weeks a campaign to stop the show has been started by lawmakers, rural groups, Pennsylvania Dutch tourism officials and representatives of the Amish. The opposition to the Amish show seems even more powerful than the one that has grounded the prospects of a new 'Beverly Hillbillies.'"