Film and TV

Casting Director Wants to Create the Laguna Beach of Highland Park

Vinnie Potestivo of Vinnie Potestivo Entertainment is looking to make a Laguna Beach-type show -- but in our very own Highland Park.

If you don't remember MTV's Laguna Beach because you had better things to do than watch spoiled California kids get drunk, then you missed out on MTV's prime reality show days. OK, not really, but they were the days before Jersey Shore.

The part where Laguna Beach fell short, however, was none of it was shot in the high school. All of the scenes took place on the beach or the mall or house parties. That's where Potestivo wants to make this Highland Park show different.

"One of the things I missed in Laguna Beach was the school involvement," he says. "I always missed the Friday Night Lights part of it."

He says that reality TV has become too hyper-focused, The Shahs of this, The Housewives of that, and even joked that he doesn't want to include the casting requirement of being 16 and a mother.

Potestivo already has begun casting for this and says while he's received much interest, some -- probably parents -- are still hesitant about the idea.

"Reality TV has certainly taken a hit in terms of what the product is versus the days when I produced The Osbournes and The Ashlee Simpson Show and 8th and Ocean, which was not at all mean-spirited," he says. "It was more finding great characters who are great conversationalists who get into a room."

Highland Park high school students could make for interesting television. Between their money, the football games and that book ban, what could go wrong?

But Potestivo says if the Highland Park high school students angle falls through, there's still another direction he's hoping the show can go.

"Now I'm hearing that there are a lot of 23-year-olds and 24-year-olds that we're talking to, who have left Highland Park, moved to Dallas, tried it a couple of years, now they're finding themselves moving back home," he says. "I think there's something to that sort of millennial boomerang generation of 'It's nice to have something to fall back on.'"

Potestivo says he's helped launched some pretty big names in the entertainment business, including Molly Sims, Mandy Moore, Ashlee Simpson and Laguna Beach's Lauren Conrad, but wants to find more.

"I know she's in Dallas," he says.

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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner