By Emily Yahr
Tuesday, June 29, 2010; C06
While recent evidence suggests that Washington may not be the best place to set a reality show (read: seriously terrible ratings), the city is still proving irresistible for television producers.
Actor Rob Lowe has teamed up with the production company 44 Blue to launch a reality series with the working title "Potomac Fever," which, according to a company executive, will follow the adventures of young Washingtonians as they try to move up the ranks in the D.C. scene.
The news comes less than two weeks after the D.C. season of Bravo's "Top Chef" opened with the smallest crowd since the first season in March 2006, and a few months after MTV's long-running "Real World" franchise limped out of Washington with the lowest-rated season in the show's history.
(The jury's still out, however, on TLC's six-episode series "D.C. Cupcakes," premiering in mid-July. And, of course, on "Real Housewives of D.C.," which debuts on Bravo in August -- though so far the newest edition has been largely buzz-less, save for the casting of the infamous alleged White House party crasher Michaele Salahi.)
Still the producers think D.C.'s ideal for yet another show.
"We believe that Washington is ripe for some great programming, and it would be the perfect backdrop to a show like this," said Stuart Zwagil, 44 Blue's senior vice president of production. He was mum on key details -- casting, specific story arcs, etc. -- but confirmed that they are in the process of pitching the show to a variety of networks.
The series seems right up Lowe's alley, even though his Washington experience is largely fictional. The actor was well known as the White house deputy communications director on NBC's political drama "The West Wing," and he just departed ABC's soap "Brothers & Sisters," on which he played a senator. He also recently kicked off a recurring stint on NBC's mockumentary "Parks and Recreation," trying out his comedic side as a slightly unbalanced government auditor.
Lowe, whose spokesman said he was unavailable for comment, told the trade publication Variety, which first reported the story late last week, that he has an "affinity for the adventures of young Washingtonians."
"They live and love at the center of world power," Lowe said. "I can't wait to tell their stories."
The series will be among the lighter fare from the production company 44 Blue, which is responsible for shows including MSNBC's behind-the-scenes prison series "Lockup," Spike TV's "U.S. Navy: Pirate Hunters" and A&E's "L.A. Gang Unit."