Controversies Spring in UPN's New Amish Production

( [email protected] ) Jul 25, 2004 02:09 AM EDT

UPN's latest reality show Amish in the City recently received critical reviews of filming a group of young Amish people interacting with urban life in an MTV Real World format. The producers defended their show as it was being accused of being exploitative towards people with Amish beliefs.

UPN held a preview screening on July 20, 2004 at the semi-annual gathering of TV critics who apparently took no offense upon the material presented. The show is to premiere July 28, 2004 at 8 ET/PT.

"People on the show are already struggling with how they want to live the rest of their lives," says producer Daniel Laikind (who also filmed the Amish documentary Devil's Playground), referring to the Amish observation of ¡§rumspringa,¡¨ a period of time in which Amish believers venture out of bounds of their faith into the secular world in order to test their beliefs.

"They expressed interest in spending time in a city to more fully learn about the world."

Mose anticipated the controversial responses, yet he says that "so many people are curious about the Amish way of life. I felt like I could be the person to teach Americans about how the Amish live."

The plot of the show consists of six city kids sharing a house with five Amish who haven ever flown a plane, seen sushi or hot tubs, or practiced yoga.

"We're exposing these young adults to something they haven't seen before," says UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff.