WILLISTON, N.D. – The creators of an upcoming reality TV show called “Guntucky” are in North Dakota looking for their next show.
Evan Stone and Adam Fox, executive producers for the show that’s scheduled to begin airing this spring on CMT, are spending a week filming in the Williston area. Stone said he wanted to check out North Dakota after hearing a radio news story about the oil boom.
“It just seems like this is really what America is all about,” Stone said. “Opportunities are here. You’ve got to be a hard worker and you’ve got to come and create that dream and it will pay off.”
Stone and Fox are developing a short “presentation tape” that they’ll pitch to production companies. If they’re successful, the next step would be to develop a pilot.
The Los Angeles producers still have three more days to film, but as of Friday, they said they envision the show centering around the boomtown of Williston driven by personalities of different characters.
“This is about real people and their real stories,” Stone said.
I took a couple of days off from newspaper reporting this week to work with them, finding people for them to talk to and lining up interviews.
Many people we encountered said don’t make another “Black Gold,” a show on truTV about drilling rigs in Texas where apparently protective equipment is not required and shirts are optional, if you believe what you see on TV.
“We don’t want to do a show like ‘Black Gold,’” Stone said. “We’d love to meet real roughnecks who work 14 hours a day and are not interested in their tan or their tattoos or how many girls they can get.”
North Dakota’s Oil Patch has been getting a steady stream of attention from the outside world, including the The New York Times Sunday Magazine and National Geographic.
I ran into some Swedish reporters in Williston on Monday.
About two weeks ago, a reporter from the UK publication The Sun was in town looking to interview single men. Oddly enough, she was having difficulty finding men to interview and asked me for suggestions.
HLN, formerly known as CNN Headline News, will air an episode of “American Journey” about Williston at 7 p.m. Central on March 16, according to a Williston resident who was interviewed for the show.
Look out for a North Dakota episode of Larry the Cable Guy’s “Only in America” show on The History Channel. The last word I got from a producer is the series will begin airing in April.
Stone and Fox are trying to use the Oil Patch to build on their success in Kentucky.
Stone and Fox said they developed the presentation tape for “Guntucky,” a show about a family-owned gun range. Leftfield Pictures, the same company that does “Pawn Stars” and many other popular shows, produced 10 episodes of the show for CMT. It was set to begin airing this January but was postponed to April after the shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Big Fish Casting of California also is interested in a show about the Bakken and has done interviews with people in North Dakota via Skype.
About a year ago, a trailer for a proposed reality show called “Boomtown Girls” went viral, focusing on five sisters living and working in Williston.
Kelsy Nehring, one of the sisters, told me this week they decided not to move forward with the project.
“If they could have worked around our schedules and not been so demanding, it might have been something we would have thought about,” said Nehring, who worked as a bartender at the time the trailer was made but now works as a mechanic for an oilfield company.
In addition, the sisters didn’t feel comfortable with some of drama that producers introduced into the show and comments that were taken out of context, Nehring said.
“I’m not going to be fake for anybody,” Nehring said. “I’m me. I’m going to be me all the time.”