Tyler citizens and their community could be part of a national television reality show as early as this summer, showcasing a Tyler television news department and the coverage of daily events.
On Tuesday, Phil Hurley, president and general manager of KYTX "CBS 19," told the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce board the Fox network had ordered six episodes of the comedy, "Anchorwoman," to be shot at the CBS 19 studios.
The show is 100 percent reality, Hurley and producer Brian Gadinsky said. Gadinsky, owner and president of The G Group in Hollywood and the first "American Idol" producer, is under contract to produce the six episodes.
Cameras will follow model and actress Lauren Jones through the ropes of learning what it takes to cut it in the small- to mid-size town television news business.
"Anchorwoman" will not have a cast; the other "characters" will be CBS 19 personnel and people in Tyler and East Texas.
"Out of about 100 television stations, CBS 19 was selected as the site and the backdrop of the series," Hurley said.
Ms. Jones will be a CBS 19 employee and perhaps start as a producer and work her way up to the anchor chair, he said. She will be required to follow the station's path of advancement to each level.
That includes producing, reporting and using a news camera, Hurley said.
Also, members of the station's news team appearing on the show will be monetarily compensated, he said.
Hurley told the chamber board that each episode of "Anchor-woman" has a $600,000 budget.
"Multiply that by six. He's going to be doing some business with you folks in Tyler, Texas, and all of East Texas," he said. "They're going to be bringing quite a bit of money here, and it's going to be spent in the community."
Gadinsky said the crew will need cars, food, lodging and other necessities while in Tyler.
"Also, there is going to be opportunities for your business to be included in the show, at your choice, of course," he said.
Last year, footage with a different actress, Hurley and some of the station's news team was posted on YouTube. Some who saw the footage said they found it unflattering to Tyler.
Hurley said the footage was a "spec tape," not a pilot, and it was posted on the public site "by my competitors." He said Gadinsky ordered the video removed from YouTube and it was.
Gadinsky's company produced the footage, but CBS 19 deemed it unacceptable and turned it down, Hurley said.
Since then, he said, Fox has assured the station "the show will do nothing to embarrass the station or embarrass the city."
Gadinsky said he loves Tyler, and Tuesday was about the fifth time he has visited the city. He said although he lives in Los Angeles, he does not believe he fits the Hollywood stereotype.
If somebody wants to say anything about the show, "the buck stops with me; you're not going to be dealing with a big, disembodied network," Gadinsky said. "If you have a request or an issue, you can deal directly with me."
A Jackson, Miss., native, Ms. Jones has appeared on the soap opera "Guiding Light," and was cast as one of the new Barker's Beauties on "The Price is Right." She will also appear in "Spiderman 3."
She is a magazine cover model and bikini model and was a World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler and "Smackdown diva."
"She's a wonderful human being and she's got that star quality; she's got that charisma," Gadinsky said. "I think you all will love her."
Gadinsky said he grew up working in local news, and the zaniness found in a local TV news station helped make that period the best in his career.
"I thought what a great idea it would be to take a station in a middle to smaller market and bring in an anchorwoman who has no experience, who wants to be a star," he said. "There's this whole fish-out-of-water tale to be told."
Elements could include how Ms. Jones reacts to Tyler and how people react to her, how the newsroom is affected by somebody who means well but has no experience, Gadinsky said. Another element could be what Ms. Jones' social and community life is like when she is in Tyler.
Shooting should begin in May. Hurley said he has heard the process would probably take about six weeks.
Gadinsky said Fox has not committed to an air date, but it is likely the shows will air mid- to late summer or in January.
The show will be shot by a separate crew, not the CBS 19 crew, Hurley said. Because it will be a Fox show, all signs and references to the station being a CBS affiliate will be removed for the shooting.