Tuesday, July 23
ABC Family, 10pm ET
Known as a summer playground for the well-heeled, Martha’s Vineyard could be poised to become famous for something completely different once ABC Family breezes through town.
The teen-friendly network has set up shop on the Massachusetts island with The Vineyard, a docuseries that follows the soapy trials and tribulations of several 20-somethings as they navigate a pivotal time in their lives. The cast will include year-round locals as well as “wash ashores,” so called because they come in for the summer and go out with the tides. Many of the cast members live together and work at the island’s iconic Black Dog Tavern.
The series will be presented cinematically with no confessionals or interviews, a format that will inevitably draw comparisons to MTV’s The Hills. Executive producer Dave Broome makes these comparisons himself, but says The Vineyard is more like the 2.0 version. And while the authenticity of The Hills was constantly questioned, Broome insists his show is not a fake.
“It’s all real,” Broome says. “The emotions are very real, what these kids are going through. The dialogue is their own dialogue, and their stories are their stories, but they’re just being served up in a different visual way. That’s the biggest difference. … Imagine if you were able to watch a show like Pretty Little Liars but now in an unscripted form.”
So yes, amid the usual issues of dating, hooking up, relationships and partying, Broome insists some substance will also emerge. As a creative force behind TV’s ultimate feel-good show, The Biggest Loser, perhaps he earns the benefit of the doubt when he promises The Vineyard will be 180 degrees from, say, Jersey Shore.
“Yeah, we’re fun. We’re doing lots of summer flings, who’s hooking up with who, but with lots of other meaty life issues,” he says. “I’m not sure Jersey Shore ever tackled ‘What am I going to do with my life?’, ‘Which med school am I going to go to?’ or ‘Why can’t I get along with my mom because I have such trust issues?’”
Photo: © 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. Credit: Frank Salinas