Multi-American

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More ethnic reality TV, this time with Muslims

The crowd at Dearborn, Michigan's International Arab Festival, July 2006
The crowd at Dearborn, Michigan's International Arab Festival, July 2006 Photo by Plaubel Makina/Flickr (creative Commons)

The ethnic reality show phenomenon continues, this time with Muslims. The Hollywood Reporter and other entertainment trade publications are reporting on the planned November debut of a show called "All-American Muslim," which will follow five families in Dearborn, Michigan, a large and long-established Middle Eastern immigrant enclave.

From today's Reporter piece:

According to the press release, the docusoap "offers an intimate look at their customs and celebrations, as well as the misconceptions, conflicts and differences they face outside—and within—their own community."

Amy Winter, TLC general manager, called All-American Muslim "a perfect fit" for the network. "Through these families and their diverse experiences, we will explore how they blend their values and traditions with everyday life in America, providing insight into their culture with care and compassion," Winter said in a statement.


Eight 30-minute episodes have been ordered so far. It's not the only planned reality series involving a cast of Middle Eastern descent, as Bravo is developing a series called "Shahs of Sunset" produced by American Idol's Ryan Seacrest, which reportedly will "follow a group of young Persian-American friends who juggle their flamboyant, fast-paced L.A. lifestyles with the demands of their families and traditions."

A post last year on how 2010 had become the year of the ethnic reality series in the aftermath of "Jersey Shore" detailed this trend, which has also led to the development the yet-to-air "K-Town," set in Los Angeles' Koreatown. It's been billed by TMZ as “Like ‘Jersey Shore,’ But with Asians,” i.e. about a crew of Asian American (not all are Korean) party animals.

And Discovery en Español aired the tamer “Norte a Sur: Una Ruta, 5 Experiencias” (North to South: One Route, Five Experiences), a travel show underwritten by Levi’s as part of a Latino marketing push, with an attractive cast of five outfitted in the company's clothes while traveling from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

There may be other shows I'm missing. Question to readers: To like or not like? Jersey Shore, whose upcoming season has Snooki and the gang running amok in Italy, has angered Italian American groups. From the looks of it, K-Town and Shahs could have a similar effect.

How does a show about American Muslims that promotes itself as "providing insight into their culture with care and compassion" sound like it will go over? Your thoughts are welcome.

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