CMT's "Party Down South" — a Southern-fried descendant of "Jersey Shore" and "The Real World" and the reality TV tradition of mixing people with alcohol — is coming to Athens, Ga., for season two.
Controversy follows: "The show, which chronicles the activities of a group of eight young Southerners, came to Athens after being displaced from Pensacola, Fla., some weeks ago," according to the Athens Banner-Herald. "A social media backlash against the show’s portrayal of Southerners and the South, accompanied by the cancellation of food and lodging contracts with the production company, prompted the search for a new venue."
"Party Down South" is produced 495 Productions, previously behind MTV's “Jersey Shore.” Backlash or no, Athens does make a certain sense: the city is home to one of the biggest party schools in the country.
But the cityscape is unlikely to feature significantly in the show, at least as far as the Athens-Clarke County knows. The ABH reports that "(Jeff Montgomery, ACC's public information officer) said the vast majority of the production is done in the residence shared by cast members."
Athens Mayor Nancy Denson has weighed in. “I’m terribly disappointed that this is being filmed in our community,” she told the paper. A discussion on tightening municipal controls on film and TV production is “a discussion probably worth having,” Mayor Denson said.
Athens, following in the footsteps of the state capital, has in recent years made a significant push to attract film and TV productions, luring both Clint Eastwood's "Trouble with the Curve" and last year's indie hit "The Spectacular Now." More work probably means more conflicts like this, where morality and money fork. Judgement is "not where I see our role," Montgomery said. "We try to stay fairly content-neutral.”