Scoop: Reality TV Passed on Balloon Boy’s Family

Network exes didn't think family was "real" enough

By Courtney Hazlett
|  Sunday, Oct 18, 2009  |  Updated 8:15 PM PDT
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Reality TV Passed on Balloon Boy’s Family

abc.com

Why, in a climate where everyone from ill-mannered housewives to cantankerous cake makers can score a reality show, a family clearly capable of making captivating television, couldn’t?

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One thing about the Heene family appears to be true, at least according to one sheriff: The story of a boy floating away in a homemade helium balloon was a hoax, dreamed up by the Heenes in the hopes they could land a reality TV deal, according to officials.

What’s not certain: Why, in a climate where everyone from ill-mannered housewives to cantankerous cake makers can score a reality show, a family clearly capable of making captivating television, couldn’t.

According to several network sources, the Heenes had more than one production company that shopped their family around. Reality Real was one of them, as was RDF USA, which produces “Wife Swap.” And yet, though the family proved interesting enough for viewers to vote the Heene family back to “Wife Swap” for an encore episode, other networks passed on the family. One TLC source said that “months ago” the Heenes were pitched, and “Thank God, they didn’t pick up the show.”

One reason the Heenes might not have been able to score a deal is that they were already on “Wife Swap.” “Being on one reality show doesn’t make you fit for your own, necessarily,” said one ABC source. “And if you become famous, or infamous as the case might be on one network, others don’t necessarily want to pick them up.”

Then there’s this (file it under “hindsight, 20/20”): “You can’t tell if you’re being had or not any more. ‘Reality television’ has moved so far from reality. The Heenes and their quirks didn’t seem entirely real,” said one person with knowledge of their failed pitches. “Or at least, you hoped what they were putting out there couldn’t be real. Either way, they weren’t going to be believable reality.”

Trial date set for Parker-Broderick Surrogate case
A trial date has been set for the two police officers accused of scheming to remove personal effects of the surrogate who carried twin girls for Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

Martins Ferry, Ohio, Police Chief Barry Carpenter will go to trial Nov. 16, and Bridgeport, Ohio, Chief Chad Dojack will go to trial Jan. 12. Both, who have pleaded not guilty, have been accused of trying to steal items from the surrogate’s home and sell them to celebrity magazines.

 

Rumpus at the box office
Even though reviews of “Where the Wild Things Are” don’t indicate the film was loved by all, it was loved enough for it to have exceeded expectations. “Wild Things” was No. 1 and took in $32.5 million in ticket sales, and helped make this the most successful October weekend in history. Others chipping in: “Law Abiding Citizen,” which came in No. 2 with a $21.2 million opening, and “Paranormal Activity,” which continues to attract massive audiences. It was in third place, and made $20.1 million, which brings its domestic total to $33.7 million.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc

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