07/19/2006

County OKs reality TV shows featuring L.A. deputies

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES- Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and cadets will be allowed to take part in two proposed reality television shows.

Their participation was approved Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, which voted 3-1 to let two production companies film deputies at work and cadets hoping to make the cut.

No filming will be allowed in the jails and all unused footage must be destroyed, according to the contracts with 44 Blue Productions Inc. and Scott Sternberg Productions Inc.

The shows are tentatively titled "The Assignment" and "The Academy."

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who had expressed reservations about the projects, warned that he didn't want the shows to interfere with the deputies' work.

"No Dick, Tom or Harry can come in there and get in the way," Yaroslavsky said. "Either a detective is out there trying to solve a crime, or he's trying to look pretty for a reality show."

Sheriff Lee Baca said he expects his deputies to follow the law no matter what.

"If the professional conduct of either my department members or any other police department's members cannot withstand the scrutiny of being taped, then the serious problem is that the performance level of those individuals is seriously in doubt," Baca said.

The two shows could provide a financial boost for the county, which would receive 5 percent of the license fees once the shows are sold to a network. License fees range from $500,000 to $3 million.

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