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With Jersey Shore nearly in MTV’s rearview, the network has found a new controversial reality program to draw headlines.
Ahead of the show’s Jan. 3 debut, Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., has written a strongly worded letter to network president Stephen Friedman. In the note, obtained by The Washington Post, Manchin expresses his distaste for the program and asks Friedman to “put a stop to the travesty called Buckwild.”
Buckwild, described as the Jersey Shore of Appalachia (and as “Jersey Shore-meets-Honey Boo Boo” by ABC News), follows nine twentysomethings living in the town of Sissonville, W.Va. as they go “mudding,” transform a dump truck into a pool party and build a human slingshot. Unlike Jersey Shore, which cast a group of strangers, the Buckwild castmates — six women and the three men — reportedly have been friends since childhood.
“As a U.S. senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” Manchin writes. “I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off Buckwild.”
He continues, “Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior – and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”
MTV is no stranger to controversy. While Jersey Shore drew the ire of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during its run, the show also garnered record ratings for the network in August 2011, with 8.9 million viewers tuning into the season four premiere.
The Jersey Shore series finale will air at 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. Upon its premiere, Buckwild will take over the infamous “Jerz-day” time slot.
According to The Post, Manchin also spoke negatively of the freshman series in a Thursday interview, in which he repeatedly called MTV’s decision to air the program “just awful.” The senator has not yet seen an episode in full but said that previews staffers have shown him were enough to prompt the letter.
MTV declined to comment on Manchin’s remarks but said the show will air two new episodes back-to-back from 10-11 p.m. ET/PT each week. The 12-episode series is produced by John Stevens and Barry Poznick from Zoo Productions, JP Williams from Parallel Entertainment and Colin Nash for MTV.
Watch a preview below.
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