|Sen. Joe Manchin Asks MTV to 'Reconsider' New W.Va. Reality Show|
|Joshua Gardner||Dec 8, 2012, 6:01 AM|
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wants MTV to cancel its forthcoming show "Buckwild" and called its portrayal of young people in his home state "just wrong."
Set in the West Virginia capital of Charleston and nearby Sissonville, W.Va., "Buckwild" "is an authentic comedic series following an outrageous group of childhood friends from the rural foothills of West Virginia," according to the show's website.
In a letter, Manchin asked MTV president Stephen K. Friedman "to reconsider airing this show."
"Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior," Manchin wrote in the letter dated Dec. 7, "and now you are profiting from it."
This is not the first time MTV has weathered criticism about its portrayal of a state's young people. "Jersey Shore," which "Buckwild" is slated to replace in the network's 10 p.m. Thursday time slot, has been criticized since its 2009 debut for its stars' drunken and promiscuous behavior.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the show "a negative for New Jersey" in 2010 and later revoked from MTV reality show's $420,000 in state tax credits, saying the show "does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens."
Manchin, who is also the former governor of the Mountain State, sang a similar tune in his letter to the MTV executive.
"This show plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia," the letter said.
Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Charleston, W.Va., Convention and Visitors Bureau, called the show a setback to the economic efforts of her town and the state as a whole because it portrays West Virginia as a place unfit for doing business.
"We don't have the same economic firepower as MTV," Bailey told ABCNews.com. "This can do real economic harm as the whole world tunes in and sees what I believe are untrue stereotypes in a quasi-reality show. It's going to be a real blow to us and we're frozen as to what to do."
Though it is already drawing fire from West Virginia's junior senator, "Buckwild" has yet to even premiere. The criticism is based upon preview trailers and sneak peeks of the show, which portray its young cast engaged in such acts as mud wrestling, swimming in the bed of a dump truck and shooting a firearm at a melon.
ABCNews.com reached out to MTV Friday evening and a representative declined to comment.
However, "Buckwild" executive producer John Stevens defended the show to Entertainment Weekly, saying it actually might help change stereotypes.
"It's not like looking at a train wreck," Stevens told EW.com, "I think it's going to get people talking and it might change people's perspectives. It will be very refreshing to the MTV audience."
"Buckwild" premiers Jan. 3, 2013 at 10 p.m. on MTV.