TV show looks for Alaska families

Posted: Monday, July 10, 2006

There are stories in Alaska, said the casting producer for ABC's Supernanny, and he is looking for families in Juneau with interesting stories for the family-help program.

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The Monday night series is more than entertainment, Cevin Middleton said Sunday from Anchorage. "We have families that are so convinced of our ability and grateful, they will talk about how incredibly helpful we are to their friends to try to get them on the show."

Based on a British television series, Supernanny Jo Frost is described by the program's Web site as a "modern-day Mary Poppins," although she deals with problems that weren't part of the Walt Disney movie. In each episode, she observes how parents handle day-to-day obstacles in raising their children, before providing solutions to their problems.

The site has a forum with discussions about things like bed times and school times, but the most heavily visited category is "bad behavior." But Frost knows how to provide answers, Middleton added.

On the program's Web site, Frost said each family touches her in its own way and she always leaves her telephone number so they can contact her.

Getting on the show

• People interested in having their families interviewed for Supernanny can call Cevin Middleton at (877) NANNYTIME or (323) 404-5416.

• The program's Web site is www.supernanny.net.

"I think I can always help in some way," she said. "Whether it's a small change or a big change, immediate change or gradual change, it's change."

He will come to Juneau if hears from families who offer the show interesting situations, he said. People can call the show's toll-free line at (877) NANNYTIME - "it will start ringing by the time you get to the M" - or his cell phone at (323) 404-5416.

"Alaska is a part of America that doesn't see a lot of TV come its way," Middleton said. At the same time, he finds it an interesting place. In Anchorage he has interviewed 15 families and already found good stories.

"Two in particular that I'm thrilled about are different than anything we've done before," he said, describing a single mother and a "Mr. Mom."

"She identifies behavior, sees what the parents are doing and she gives advice," he said. The advice includes exercises before Frost leaves and a follow-up visit to check on progress.

"We're looking for kids who are frustrated with parents and parents frustrated with kids," Middleton said. He defined "kids" as ages 2 to 18 and said the size of families may be big or small.

Being on the show means putting your family out for the entire country to view, but Middleton said people don't mind that. "The families that need help just want help."

He said the length of his stay in Alaska will depend on interest from people who want to talk with him. The number of Alaska families on the show will depend on the number of compelling Alaska stories.

Filming with families who are chosen for Supernanny will probably be done within the next two months and air during the new season in September.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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