Casting a Bakken production: Oil Patch could be focus of reality TV showAlthough rumors of a North Dakota oil boom-based reality show have persisted for some time, it looks like something concrete is finally in the works and could be airing as soon as next year.
By: Bryan Horwath, The Dickinson Press
Although rumors of a North Dakota oil boom-based reality show have persisted for some time, it looks like something concrete is finally in the works and could be airing as soon as next year.
From the Jersey shore to the swamps of Louisiana to the icy roads of Alaska, popular reality shows have been based all over the U.S. in recent years, but a place that seems made for reality TV — the Bakken — has been absent a program.
That could change soon, according to Emmy award-winning television casting director and producer Charisse Simonian.
“We’re very interested in doing a show that would be based in the Bakken and in North Dakota, specifically,” Simonian said from her office in Los Angeles recently. “Things can always change, but we’re in the development phase right now and we’re looking for interesting people whose lives have been affected by the oil boom.”
Taking the lead on the project, Simonian is talent scouting for Big Fish Casting and working with Burbank, Calif.,-based Cheri Sundae Productions. Simonian said she has received a lot of responses from individuals interested in being featured in the show.
“What we’re looking at is having something based somewhere from Dickinson north,” Simonian said. “We’re looking for interesting people who are likeable and outgoing with good personalities. I’ve talked with a lot of people already.”
Simonian won an Emmy for her work on the show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” helping to find families for the hit reality show’s first three seasons. Simonian said she also was responsible for casting the sharks for the Emmy-nominated ABC show “Shark Tank.”
While the show — if it makes it to the airwaves — will be based in the Bakken, it wouldn’t necessarily only feature oil workers.
“We’d love to have the roughneck, but we also want to have the owners of a local family-owned restaurant who have been affected or the truck driver navigating the area,” Simonian said. “I just talked to a guy who drives 16 hours to see his family when he gets a chance, but works in the oil field because he can make a lot of money doing it. There are a lot of interesting people in the Bakken.”
With pilot season beginning in February, Simonian said if the show is picked up by a network, she would like to start production in the spring and possibly have the show airing in the fall of 2013.
“I’m in talks with some networks right now,” she said. “There’s a gold rush of sorts happening in the Bakken and there are people who are very interested in making this show happen. We think it’s a great idea and we’re in the process of making it happen. This could be very popular.”
Simonian said individuals who are interested in being cast for the show should email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Send an email with a picture and include reasons why you’d be good for the show,” she said. “If you catch our eye, I’ll set up a Skype session. I’ll be doing a lot of interviews over the holiday break because a lot of workers up there will have time off.”
Although questions about oil field employee clearance to be on such a reality show remain, Simonian thinks a hit could be in the making.
“We’ve even talked about having two shows,” she said. “That’s not out of the question at all. I’m really excited for the potential of this project. I think there a lot of stories waiting to be told.”