Sons of Hollywood

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10-11 p.m., Sunday, April 1
A&E


Only television would have the temerity to dub a show a "real-life series" while listing three story editors and a story producer in the credits. You feel like A&E must be joking, but evidently not.

Of course, "Sons of Hollywood" hits the air with barely a pulse in its opening two half-hour installments aired back-to-back (the cable equivalent of supersizing). It posits the theory that children of the rich and famous aren't like you and me. They're a lot less mature and more boring, somewhat like how human beings tend to grow when their emotional development is arrested at age 5 because everything has been done for them their entire lives.

Here is the equation: privilege + TV cameras x 2 = unwatchability. And we have Rod Stewart and the late Aaron Spelling to thank for it.

"Sons" feels instantly like a rerun of ... something. And then it hits you: It's similar to the Fox travesty of a few years back, "The Princes of Malibu," a frightfully contrived trifle that helped lead to the divorce of protagonists David Foster and Linda Thompson. By contrast, this latest 12-episode effort seems to lack even the courage of its superficial convictions, staffing story editors but coming up with nothing to make its slacker stars even moderately interesting.

Those would be lifelong best friends Randy Spelling (son of megaproducer Aaron), Sean Stewart (son of rocker Rod and Alana Stewart) and talent manager David Weintraub (with Viacom chief Leslie Moonves' son Adam serving as a co-creator). Their banal interaction quickly devolves into a blur of tattoos, stubble, mumbling, cigarette smoke, dumb blondes, pizza boxes and bleeped dialogue.

An A&E press release describes this as a chronicle of three friends who are "living the dream" but have committed to "stepping out from the imposing shadows of their parents and forging their own identities." But having seen them on their own now for an hour of TV, I've already become a lot more pro-shadow. If this is an accurate example of how showbiz scions behave today, they could maybe use some lessons from Rob Reiner.

The first installment shows them all hanging in Las Vegas at the ultra-trendy Palms Hotel, where they eat, chase girls, argue and play golf. Randy also learns that his dad's health has taken a turn for the worse (he would die during filming), leaving him bummed out but not so much that he felt the need to head home immediately to be with his father. This would be repeated in the second episode, when we see Randy speaking to his father on the telephone but apparently lacking the emotional fortitude to be at his side (at least, this is the implication).

In Episode 2, Randy's sister, Tori, pays a visit and does the splits on the living room hardwood. Meanwhile, Sean mostly acts hotheaded and infantile, while David -- who is every ounce the aspiring mogul in business suit and dark shades -- is the glue holding things together, but not in the Super Glue sense. More like that white paste stuff.

But honestly, not a whole lot of anything happens in "Sons," whose producers seem to believe that the simple act of turning on the cameras will magically result in a show. Hey, it's good to have dreams.

SONS OF HOLLYWOOD
A&E
iCandy TV and A&E Television
Credits:
Executive producers: JT Taylor, Nancy Dubuc, Rob Sharenow, Michael Morrison
Co-creators: JT Taylor, David Weintraub, Adam Moonves, Bobby Heyward
Producers: Randy Spelling, Sean Stewart, David Weintraub
Supervising producer: Brent Wilson
Line producer: Ray Marchant
Story producer: Frank Rehwaldt
Associate producer: Tracy Powell
Director of photography: Richie Banales
Production manager: Dina DeMartini
Story editors: Barbara Bartenes-Wulff, Angela Shelley, David Tobin
Editor: Paul Morzella
Music supervisor: Trina Coletti
Audio supervisor: Aaron Murphy
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