Residents set for Big Apple

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2005

Barbara Philpot said she has been in contact with ABC daily as the July 30 taping date for "My Kind of Town" nears. 200 citizens of Greenville will be in New York that Saturday to take part in the network's newest blend of reality television and game show excitement.

"We talk or email each other every day," Philpot, administrative assistant with the Mayor's office, said of production scout Megan Miguez, who visited Greenville in June when ABC held a casting call for the new show. A few days later network officials notified Mayor Dexter McLendon that the Camellia City was definitely ABC's 'Kind of Town.'

Greenville was one of six cities across the United States selected. Bordertown, N.J., is first up, with taping scheduled to take place today. Ellenville, N.Y., and Mount Horeb, Wis., were also selected.

"They (ABC) are extremely excited about having Greenville included in the show," said Philpot.

And besides reviewing the applications submitted by show hopefuls in June, Philpot said executives have definitely taken an interest in the lifestyle of people living in Greenville.

"One of the questions they've asked is, "why do you close (downtown) on Wednesday afternoon?" said Philpot. Greenville and small towns like Luverne and Georgiana have traditionally taken a midweek work break. In the past, Saturday was usually the busiest day of the week for merchants with farmers coming into downtown for supplies.

"So they are researching and finding out things about Greenville that makes us unique," said Phlipot.

Executives from the show are in the process of contacting the 200 show participants. Philpot said she was told all people traveling to New York would meet with ABC in a group prior to the trip.

Philpot said, overall, people she's spoken with are thrilled about being picked for the show.

"Of course the first thing girls want to know is 'what are we going to wear?" she said, laughing. "And there are regulations they (ABC) have, like no T-shirts with logos, and things like that."

But there's also an underlying fear among some that the show will somehow make Greenville look bad. ABC has assured Philpot that will not be the case.

"Even though this is rural south Alabama, we still want to be respected," she said.

My Kind of Town is a relentlessly energetic primetime studio show in which real American people in all of their imperfect and awkward glory have the chance to become the stars of their own show for one memorable night. Each week, 200 people from one small town come to a New York City studio, where a lucky handful will participate in individualized comedic games and gags for prizes tailored to their own lives, interests and needs.

One person from the group of 200 is chosen to play the big end game, where they will shoulder the burden of either winning or losing a huge prize for the other 199 audience members – all of whom they will see every day for the rest of their lives.