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Alaska men looking for love have a cupid in Hollywood toiling on their behalf.
A California casting company is in Alaska today auditioning bachelors for a new reality show slated to air on a major television network, said Marki Costello, who is casting the show for LMNO Productions in Los Angeles.
The program will mingle four single women from the Lower 48 with 20 Alaska men ready for a serious commitment, said Costello, noting the show could conclude with four couples.
"It'll be like 'Sex In The City' meets 'Northern Exposure' meets 'Blind Date,'" said Costello, who plans to screen men in Juneau this week. "It's really the ultimate relationship show."
Four representatives from Costello's office are in Anchorage today for the first auditions. Susie Smutz, founder of the Anchorage-based Alaska Men magazine, is helping to cast the show, which will feature single, divorced or widowed men from age 25-55. Smutz said the program will be filmed in September and October at a secret location in Alaska.
"It's probably going to be the biggest thing that's ever happened up here in Alaska ... media-wise," said Smutz, who also noted other reality shows have brought fame and fortune to cast members.
Producers decided to make Alaska men the focus after a poll found the most common complaint among women in the Lower 48 is that men are noncommittal, Costello said. Producers figured they could find four of those lovelorn females mates in Alaska because men here are less jaded and outnumber women eight to one, she said.
"We think Alaska men, because the ratio is eight to one, they're more appreciative," Costello said.
Some myths never die. The most recent census data show the ratio of men to women in Alaska is almost 50-50, with men outnumbering women by only 3 percent. The ratios vary by community, but the numbers are almost even in Juneau, Ketchikan, Anchorage and Fairbanks slated for casting calls.
"We haven't really run way out of line in sex ratios since the Korean War," said state demographer Greg Williams, laughing. "They aren't necessarily paying any attention to facts."
Smutz, of Alaska Men magazine, said the producers chose Alaska for its romance and "real people," not because they succumbed to the gender myth.
"This is where men are men. They're independent," said Smutz, who noted she is looking for candidates who work in a cross section of industries, including oil and commercial fishing.
Men interested in auditioning may call 1-888-751-8088 or apply at www.lmnotv.com - the Web site of LMNO Productions, which lists its credits as the FOX series 'Boot Camp,' the CBS series 'Kids Say The Darndest Things,' the FOX series 'Guinness World Records: Primetime,' and 'Behind Closed Doors With Joan Lunden.' The company calls the program 'Relationship Show' on its Web site.
LMNO referred all questions to Costello, who declined to reveal the major network associated with the show pending approval by the network. She was writing this week's itinerary this morning and did not know what day auditions were scheduled in Juneau. The company also plans auditions on the Kenai Peninsula, Smutz said.
Juneau resident Dennis Harris, a 1990 model for Alaska Men magazine, panned the production, saying Hollywood's misperceptions about Alaska extend to Alaska men.
"They think we're all guys that never take baths," Harris said. "These Hollywood people, they don't have a clue about Alaska."
Terry Quinn, another Alaska Men alumnus, approved of the show.
"Providing opportunities for people to form relationships is great," said Quinn, of Juneau. "I hope it works out."