United Mine Workers of America International president Cecil Roberts has sent
a letter to Viacom Inc. chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone complaining about a
reality series proposed by Viacom-owned CBS, The Real Beverly
The show would take a real poor and rural family and drop them in a Beverly
Hills mansion, much like the original fictional series did, then document how
they get along in their new environment and how residents react to them.
"The idea is repugnant to me and the union members I represent," Roberts said, adding that miners plan to show up at Viacom's annual meeting in New York
May 21 to protest the idea of the show.
Roberts suggested to Redstone: "Instead of making fun of people living in
rural America, why doesn't CBS consider producing something like Executive
Survivor? In this reality show, high-paid corporate executives would start with
nothing, be relocated to rural America and have to find a job that provides them
a living wage and pension and health benefits."
He continued, "Of course they'd also have a family to feed and clothe and bills to pay. If
we're lucky, maybe one of them will end up working in a 30-inch seam in a
nonunion coal mine. Now that would be real entertainment. I trust you get the point."
According to an Associated Press story, a CBS spokesman said no decision
about airing the show has been made.