Wanted: “’northside-types” for new Edmonton reality TV show.
The TV show called Northsiders is being produced by Ignition Media Productions and is touted as reality show in the same vein as Big Brother and Jersey Shore.
“Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (is) a city ‘split in two’ by the North Saskatchewan River – a divide that’s as much cultural as it is geographical. While the city’s south side is famous for the U of A, Old Strathcona, artists, musicians, & hipsters, the city’s north side is equally (in)famous for its blue-collar workers, metal-heads, rockers, partiers, bikers, neighbourhood pubs and ethnic diversity,” reads the introduction on the casting call.
Guy Lavallee, creative director at Ignition Media Productions has had the idea for a reality show focusing on Edmonton’s north side in the back of his mind for several years since moving to Castledowns in 1989.
He noted the number of different people he met, from blue collar workers to party girls and straight A students. They became the basis for the 12 characteristics he’s looking to cast in the show.
“I started to discover over the years that there are these stereotypes people have about the north side. So what can we do to take these so-called stereotypes and embrace it and have fun with it, and find a lot of different people who are northsiders who don’t fit the typical mould that people expect,” he said.
But Edmontonians on Twitter decried the TV show, calling it shallow and stereotypical.
“It’s an unoriginal concept and misrepresents a thin slice of the diverse north side population as representative of the whole,” Tammy Lee told Metro via Twitter.
“The idea that the city is split like that isn’t even true, and on the whole it is classist,” said Breanne Hart-Dowhun on Twitter.
“How is it a good idea to make a show that propagates blue collar workers as savage and unable to live together?”
Some Edmontonians even started a petition to stop production, saying the show would exploit Edmonton.
But Lavallee said the show is designed to be an ode to the north side that he lived in and loved, not a mockery.
“Even in our outline and synopsis of the show, we are saying that these are the stereotypes of north side Edmonton. Instead of shying away from it, lets embrace it. I have lived in north side, my co-producer lived on the north side his whole life, and his kids are born and raised northsiders. Our intention is not to belittle or make fun of anybody.”
Lavallee called the response to Northsiders “overwhelmingly positive,” with over 100 casting applications.
“In the last three days, this thing has just exploded. A lot of people are saying ‘it’s about time’. People recognize that north side Edmonton is like a state of mind. I think it’s something Edmontonians will get on board with, and it’s just a really fun way … to showcase the city. “
After the casting call Wednesday, crews will be en route to Banff to pitch the concept to several broadcasters. It could be up to a year before the show starts filming.
- The 18-29 year old oil-patch/construction/trades worker: this young male works up north in the oil industry OR locally in construction OR a trade. He may or may not have a high school education, but he makes over $100,000 a year. He can afford just about anything, and when he hits the clubs, look out.
- The 30-something oil-patch/construction/trade worker: late 30s family man, loves classic rock & Ryan Smyth. He doesn’t go out much anymore, doesn’t have a lot of use for young people who waste their time working out and clubbing or who think they ‘know it all’ even though they just started out in the industry.
- The Rocker Chick: she’s 30-45 years old, and this old-school rocker chick still loves a good night out with the girls.
- The Bar Star: this 18-25 year old female is all about the PARTY, loves to post naughty photos of herself on Facebook. Basically, a parent’s worst nightmare.
- The 40-something cougars (2-3) who ‘never grew up’: they may be in her mid-40s, but they still party like they’re still in high school – even if it means partying ‘with’ high-schoolers.
- The 18-24 year old single mom: is: she just turned 20 and has a kid. She may be on social assistance, but don’t worry, she has plenty of cash left over to party every night!
- The 25-35 year old ‘biker-type’: he’s tough as nails and may or may not be into some shady dealings. Fancies himself a ladies man.
- The 18-29 year old gym freak: you all know this guy’s ‘situation’: spends all his free time at the gym, and he’s more into ‘himself’ than any of the ladies he tries to sweet-talk at the club every night.
- The hair stylist: he’s an 18-24-year old gay dude who works at a high-end northside salon (or similar) – hates classic rock, ‘rig-pigs’, & everything about most of the people in this group. They have absolutely nothing in common.
- The 25-34 year old computer/comic book nerd: he’s a loner who identifies closely with the characters on The Big Bang Theory. Not a big partier, never had a girlfriend, never been in trouble. Can this group corrupt him?
- The 18-29 year old aspiring musician: he OR she just wants to make music, won’t take ‘No’ for an answer. Gets along equally well with pretty much everyone – for now.
- The Straight ‘A’ student: she’s an 18-24 year old bookworm with a high GPA, already has her career path planned. She was not one of the ‘cool kids’ in high school, but now that she’s in University, she has something to prove. She hates going to the bar and hates shallow people.