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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Miners want Hillbilly show ban
Appalachian coal miners will protest in New York next month against plans for a reality TV series called The Real Beverly Hillbillies.

The idea for the CBS show is based on popular 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, about a poor mountaineer who becomes rich when he discovers oil on his property.

Members of the United Mine Workers of America, which represents 100,000 workers, say the show is offensive to rural communities.

They will protest at a shareholders meeting of CBS' parent company Viacom on 21 May, unless the network agrees to cancel the series.

"This plan - to take a poor rural family, place them in a Hollywood mansion and ridicule them on national television - is repugnant to me and to the union members I represent, " said president of the miners' union, Cecil E Roberts.

The union's stand on this show is one more indication how widespread opposition to this programme is
Tim Marema
Centre for Rural Strategies
A CBS spokesman said that no decision had been made about whether the production would go ahead.

The plans have faced strong opposition across the eastern states of the US.

Last month, 43 members of the House of Representatives asked for the show to be cancelled in a joint letter to CBS president Leslie Moonves.

Kentucky congressman Hal Rogers said the idea was "trash that should have no place on the public airwaves".

The Centre for Rural Strategies, a campaign group, has placed adverts in newspapers across the US, critising the show's concept.

"I think a protest by miners would be the last thing Viacom would want at its annual meeting, " said the group's vice president, Tim Marema.

"The union's stand on this show is one more indication to how widespread opposition to this programme is."

High ratings

Viacom said mineworkers would only be welcome at the meeting if they were shareholders.

The Beverly Hillbillies sitcom was on CBS between 1962 and 1971 and is still popular on cable network TV Land.

Reality TV is a big hit with US audiences but screenwriters, actors and directors say they are losing out as networks cancel expensive dramas and sitcoms and pack their schedules with reality and talent shows instead.

Recent show Joe Millionaire and talent showcase American Idol have been a huge boost for the Fox network.




SEE ALSO:
Joe Millionaire aids Fox ratings victory
27 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
TV's Joe Millionaire picks his lady
18 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Reality TV dominates US ratings
15 Jan 03  |  Entertainment


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