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“We tried to make something that has not been done in South Africa as far as reality shows go. That is why we came up with a fish-out-of- water concept where four American women try to survive in a new territory, Cape Town,” said Quinton van der Burgh, the executive producer of the new local reality TV show, ’Clifton Shores’.
The show was shot in Cape town last year and features a cast of mainly beautiful American girls who would otherwise belong on a Baywatch set.
“They are sassy, beautiful and smart. When we went for casting in the US, we were very strict about who we took on. I specifically wanted intelligent people on the show. So beauty was one requirement, but brains had to come with it, too,” he said.
After a thorough search Destiny, Katy, Kathy and Jamillette made the cut, packed their bags and came to SA to see if they could make it here.
It is a brilliant idea because everything happens in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. So we see them work and play in a city that allows both all year round.
“They stay in a mansion from day one and have to work for me in different tasks I have given them,” said Van der Burgh.
“The beauty of it is that they are not using a script, as is done on some reality TV shows. We just start rolling and the drama comes as we go along. It is as real as we get.
“For example, there is an instance when a certain girl gets fired. That is real, she doesn’t work there any more, it is verifiable,” he said proudly.
What is of concern is that from inception, van der Burgh was making this show for the US market first, not a local audience.
“Look, it is a good thing that Vuzu got to show it first, but the idea was to give the Americans first priority. This was a decision I had to make after realising the economics of African TV broadcasting versus the First World. If I pumped in, say, $3 million into this project, then obviously I need to get it back with some sort of profit.
“As a continent, we cannot afford to pay huge figures like that. So it was purely business. We have two US networks that have expressed interest in the show and we are in talks with them,” he said.
“Also, there is a need to show Cape Town as a tourist destination and, judging by the way the ladies have fun, we are doing a good job in marketing the place,” he said.
The women go to various places that will be familiar to the SA eye, from the beaches to the prestigious parties such as those at the J&B Met.
• ‘Clifton Shores’ premiered on August 21. It's on at 9pm on Vuzu (DStv channel 123).