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TV Column
Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 12/07/2012

MTV’s ‘Buckwild’ hits pay dirt with Sen. Joe Manchin’s angry letter


The cast of "Buckwild" (MTV - MTV)
MTV hit pay-dirt Friday when Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) fired off a letter to MTV president Stephen Friedman asking that the network “put a stop to the travesty” that is its new docu-series “Buckwild.”

“Buckwild” is about a bunch of MTV-target-audience aged BFF’s doing MTV docu-series-ish things. Think “Jersey Shore.”

“As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” Manchin wrote, after seeing only previews of the show – not an actual episode. Because, U.S. Senators don’t have time to do that much homework.

“I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off of ‘Buckwild’,” the senator continued in his letter.

Now, if the MTV marketing  department thought real hard for hours and hours, it could not come up with a stunt more likely to draw the network's target audience to “Buckwild.” Because, if there's one thing that draws young viewers to a TV program, it's being told a show is no good for them, by a guy like Manchin.

Sadly, once upon a time, politicians didn’t just fire off cranky letters in response to promos for new shows. They had more flare – they gave out awards!

Back in 1999, for instance, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (then D-Conn.) and virtue czar William Bennett (the former secretary of education) announced that media mogul Rupert Murdoch would receive their Silver Sewer Award that year for Murdoch’s Fox network’s comedy series “Action.”

Back then, both politicians acknowledged they had not seen a full episode of the show – just promos. Some Washington traditions are just worth preserving.

MTV has so far declined to comment on the senator’s letter (which his office leaked to the Post’s 2chambers blog).

(Back in ’99, when network used to respond to things, Fox network noted, in re its Silver Sewer Award, "Nielsen Media Research states that the average American television home now receives more than 57 different television channels…That means when any program airs, the typical viewer commands another 56 choices. We value the freedom of choice, and respect and reinforce every viewer's ability to choose entertainment they believe is most appropriate for themselves."

Getting back to 2012, Manchin further said in his letter to MTV that,
“Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”

From which we glean that Sen. Manchin perhaps needs to better familiarize himself with Facebook, YouTube, maybe Twitter, and other of the many places in which MTV’s target audience displays similar “shameful” behavior on a regular basis — without any coaxing from a Viacom-owned network.

Friday afternoon, the executive producer of “Buckwild” told celebrity mag Entertainment Weekly that the subjects of the show, “are totally wild and carefree” in that they do not have cell phones, “don’t do Facebook,” and don’t even have a roller coaster in town.

“It will be very refreshing to the MTV audience,” exec producer John Stevens insisted.

But, we’ve got some good news for the senator. Just yesterday, MTV  announced it had also ordered a docu-series about a bunch of shameful behavior-ing MTV-aged BFF’s — from Washington Heights.

By  |  03:50 PM ET, 12/07/2012

 
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