With Persian show, Bravo, Ryan Seacrest seek their own Situation
With MTV continuing to hit it big with the Italian Americans of “Jersey Shore,” Bravo believes it has an answer on the other coast: Persian Americans.
The “Real Housewives” network announced Wednesday that it was developing a show with Ryan Seacrest tentatively titled “Shahs of Sunset" that will document Los Angeles’ colorful Iranian expat community.
“The series will offer rich characters and relatable storylines about everyday life — love, work, friendship and family — steeped in a diverse culture, which is wildly entertaining and fun,” Seacrest said in a statement.
Los Angeles is home to as many as 800,000 people of Persian ancestry, largely on the city’s Westside. Many came to the U.S. after the shah fell in 1979, with a number of them — or at least a number of them in this show — achieving a degree of economic success. “Armed with chromed-out cars, logo-ridden purses and designer outfits, they've got it and they're not afraid to flaunt it,” Bravo said in a statement, while adding that the group also “knows the value of family and tradition.”
Seacrest, who will serve as the series’ executive producer, has been honing his reality chops; he’s the producer of several Kardashian-centric series as well as “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”
While Bravo has fashioned a niche out of its professional competition series, "Shahs" would follow in the path of the “Real Housewives” franchise, which looks at the dynamic among a cluster of outspoken types in a given city. The network didn’t say whether characters would live together outside their natural environment a la "Jersey Shore" or separately, as they do in “Housewives.”
"Shahs" is the latest attempt to replicate the success that MTV has had with the likes of Snooki and the Situation, shining a light on the adventures of a second-generation subculture.
Other efforts have not quite worked out. The production company behind the highly rated “Jersey Shore,” whose fourth season premieres in August, has been trying to get its own Persian version off the ground for some time, and a casting process was initiated for an Asian edition that was never produced.
— Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Snooki and the Situation from "Jersey Shore." Credit: Scott Gries/MTV.