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Irish 'Hills' fails to get out of the blocks as RTE gets cold feet

The fate of our own version of reality hit The Hills is in jeopardy as RTE has yet to approve the show, the Herald can reveal.

The programme, provisionally titled SoCoDu, is set to feature some of the country's up-and-coming models in their day-to-day lives, including First Option model Suzie McAdam, Morgan the Agency model Shireen McDonagh, and Compton girl Kate Sheridan.

And similar to the girl's Californian counterparts, camera crews will follow them throughout their social and working lives. But there has been no progress in the show's production, which began in July last year.

"I get the feeling that it's not going ahead anymore. I think if it was going to happen, it would have happened after Christmas," a set insider revealed.

"RTE never actually gave the programme the green light, in spite of what everyone said. I think they're waiting until the end of February to hear back, and then moving on to something else -- I don't know if that means pitching to another network or reformatting the programme."

According to the source, only the pilot episode has been filmed and there have been several recastings over the past seven months since the production company, Wildwave Media officially began looking for its stars.

However, the show has been dogged by drama even before filming has begun. One of the show's original stars, Valerie Phelan, a former Miss South County Dublin, was replaced after reports emerged that she had brought too much attention to the show, which was trying to stay under the radar before it aired.

Social

At the moment, SoCoDu is expected to follow the same format as The Hills when it debuted, following Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge, Heidi Montag and Whitney Port in their social and working lives in Los Angeles.

Among those involved with the production of the show is David Coffey, the man behind satirical comedy series Dan and Becs, who both starred in and wrote the popular programme.

Scenes for the pilot were shot at a number of high-profile locations in the capital, including Krystle nightclub, VIP magazine offices on Ely Place, Brown Thomas and several exclusive restaurants.

An RTE spokesperson said they could not comment on the progress of the programme as their policy dictates they cannot comment on "any programming ideas or pitches which have not been commissioned" and shows in development are "conducted on a confidential basis".

cmcbride@herald.ie


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