MTV plans ''O.C.''-ish ''reality drama'' -- ''Laguna Beach'' will be shot and edited like a scripted drama, without asides to the camera

By Gary Susman
June 26, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Welcome to the real-life ”O.C.,” bitch. Variety reports that the cameras have finally started rolling on MTV’s ”Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.” Billed by MTV as ”the first ever reality drama,” ”Laguna Beach” will follow the lives of seven real California teens (five gals, two guys), with producers editing the footage into dramatic narrative arcs, without such self-aware reality TV conventions as cast interviews and confessional-booth revelations. ”The dialogue, reactions and situations are real and unscripted,” the network said in a statement.

Initially, the idea was almost too real for Laguna Beach residents. As the Associated Press reported in February, three days after Janet Jackson’s nipple exposure at the MTV-produced Super Bowl halftime show, angry Laguna Beach parents convinced the local school board that MTV wasn’t responsible enough to be allowed to film students on campus at Laguna Beach High School. The board voted unanimously to rescind MTV’s contract to film at the school, even though that meant giving up tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. We’re guessing that dispute isn’t going to make it into the show, which premieres Sept. 14 and follows its stars off campus.