Alabama Town Says No Thanks to 'Redneck Riviera,' Passes Law to Block Filming

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A production company hoping to film what could be the South's answer to the "Jersey Shore" has had the door slammed in its face by one Alabama town that would rather be known for pristine beaches than Confederate flags.

Gulf Shores seemingly has no interest in being the representative for a gaggle of twentysomethings who are proud rednecks and wear their rebel flags on their sleeves.

The city council's response after finding out the beach town was being scouted for filming a new reality show titled "Redneck Riviera" was to unanimously pass an amended filming law that allows city officials to deny permits for productions deemed to imply inappropriate messaging.

"Anything like this has the potential to be very disruptive to our community," Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said, but insisted the newly updated ordinance wasn't intended solely for "Redneck Riviera." "We knew we needed to do something a little different here."

The show's title is a play on the long-held nickname for the region, one that many officials try not to advertise.

"I don't think it would be welcome," Linda Whitlock, president and CEO of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, said of the show. "This area, this community of Alabama, has worked very hard, for many, many years to erase the image of the Redneck Riviera."

But Jodi Redmond, creator and executive producer behind "Redneck Riviera" said Gulf Shores may have the wrong idea about her show.

"I think it's unfortunate because I think it could bring a credible amount of tourism back to that place," she said. "I love Gulf Shores."

Despite Gulf Shore's imposition of the new ordinance, casting for "Redneck Riviera" is ongoing. According to the show's Web site, producers are looking for native southerners whose idea of a perfect vacation includes "Miller beer by the case, partying and dancing the night away ... while spending the day on the beach with a cold one in your hand and watching bikini bull-riding contests."

"Do you drink sweet tea, talk endlessly about NASCAR, sport a rebel flag (on your bikini or jacked-up pickup truck), listen to loud country and/or Southern rock, or enjoy walking around shirtless or in daisy dukes?" the Web site asks. "Do you consider 'liberal' a dirty word?"

Redmond, however, said the casting call was "jazzed up" and that she hopes to focus the show on a single town and the people in it, rather than having a congregation of young adults living in a house a la the "Jersey Shore" gang.

"The show, I think, is going to change a bit," she said. "It's going to be done in a way ... that's based more on the towns and the people rather than choosing a bunch of kids to live together and having them act like crazy kids and being able to make fun of them."

"I prefer not to make junk," she said.

'Jersey Shore' Town Mayor Tells Gulf Shores to Try It

While Gulf Shore's law isn't aimed specifically at "Redneck Riviera," Craft said, it will give city officials a reason to take a hard look at it if Redmond files an application for a permit.

The amended version of the city's ordinance on commercial film, video and audio productions now calls for permits to be denied to any production that will "misrepresent or falsely depict city facilities, employees, programs, or property or the community as a whole" and "contain or imply inappropriate messaging."

For all the concerns Gulf Shores may have, one mayor who's been in the same situation said, "Tell them to try it."

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