Kids walking the halls of Prime Prep Academy next fall might have a shot at television stardom because Deion Sanders, the school's co-founder, is working with entertainment exec Tracey Edmonds (with whom Sanders' ex-wife accused him of cheating) to make his school a reality ... show. That's right, a reality show. TMZ broke the news Saturday but didn't say whether the show would feature the school's Dallas or Fort Worth campus or both.
Weeks ago, Sanders and his business partner D.L. Wallace held town hall meetings to share the school's offerings with the community. Parents were impressed with the laptops that will be given to every student and the promised variety of extra-curricular activities. A reality show, notably, was not mentioned.
On March 1, the school began accepting applications from potential students and teachers, unaware that they could be destined for small-screen stardom if accepted. It's truly tough to say how parents will feel about this -- and viewers, for that matter.
The TMZ report didn't give much detail. It only said that a "major television studio" is involved. It's also unclear how much of it will be about Sanders and how much involvement the students will have. Of course, with our appreciation for the proliferation of reality television in Dallas, we'll report more details as we learn them.
This news dropped the very same day The Dallas Morning News detailed the praise and criticism the school's received in the past year or so, noting that Sanders' star power has rained more attention on this school than most other independent charters, which usually fly under the radar. The Morning News didn't reveal any new missteps, but recapped a few of the bumps along way:
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By then, an Austin American-Statesman story had highlighted the Prime Prep lease and marketing contracts that TEA officials determined weren't "arm's-length" transactions. The Texas Observer had found that claims about specific corporate pledges to the school were wrong. The Dallas Observer had examined a lawsuit accusing the founders of fraud related to previous business dealings as well as their charter school plans ... Another story pointed out that sections of the Prime Prep charter appeared to be taken verbatim from Greenhill School's mission statement as well as from school documents in Idaho and Virginia.
This could have been what Sanders referenced when he kicked off the Dallas town hall by saying, " "Someone is ready to hate, somebody is ready to naysay. ... But I don't care. I never did care."
D.L. Wallace told the Morning News that the scrutiny didn't bother him and that they had made the necessary adjustments early on to satisfy state requirements. "If there's increased publicity, there's going to be an increased responsibility. There's going to be increased accountability," he said.
And the publicity and scrutiny are only going to get louder when the reality show goes Prime Time.