A Las Vegas based television crew are hoping they might have found the next big reality televisio
n show in Ely. Following around Melody Van Camp for four days, the crew shot hours and hours of footage to be edited down into a three-minute “sizzle reel” to pitch a new show called “Small Town Mayor.”
The concept is rather simple. Find a small town with personality that has a Mayor that viewers would want to spend an hour of their time watching each week. With Van Camp, they think they have found a winner.
“We wanted to find a Mayor that was born and raised in the community that the show would take place in. When we met melody, we just fell in love with her,” the show’s Director Sean Stanek said.
Stanek, alongside the show’s creator and Executive Producer Alby Lombardo and fellow Producer Robert Warren said that Ely as the first small town they had visited that felt bursting with interesting people and gorgeous scenery. Stanek likened some of the views that residents have come to know and love as similar to something you would see in a movie.
As for the potential star of the show, Van Camp said that this was the first thing like this that has ever happened to her.
“It was a really interesting and fun experience, but I’m not going to quit my day job just yet,” she joked.
The film crew followed her, her husband and even her dogs around town as she worked at her local sewing shop “Sew Krazy” as well as her more official Mayorial duties at a city council budget meeting and the city’s Memorial Day service.
“They wouldn’t let me clean my shop, they said I had to leave it just the way it was and I had to wear my regular work clothes,” Van Camp said of the crew’s attempts to get an accurate feel for what her day to day activities feel like.
While reality television generally has a reputation for skewing toward the negative side of things, the show’s producer Robert Warren said that “Small Town Mayor” would be a more family friendly show and look to inspire rather than shock.
“This could be a really amazing and smart show,” Warren said, likening it to shows like “Pawn Stars.”
The next step in the process is to bring the footage back to their Las Vegas offices and edit their hours of material down to a short “sizzle reel” of what the show would look like. From there, they will pass that to a company in Las Vegas who will try and start a bidding war between television networks to fund a pilot. At that time they would return to Ely shoot a full episode that they could take back to the network. If the network likes it and it tests well with focus groups, the show could get “picked up” for an order of a full season of episodes.
Stanek, who has gone through the process before when shooting the pilot episode for “Baby’s the Boss” for A&E said that it is a long process that has a lot of steps where the project could not move forward, but he feels confident in both the show and his subject.
“It’s hard not to love [Van Camp],” Stanek said. “If everything goes well, we could have a full season on air in about seven months.”