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Reality Shows Not Always What Towns Want [AUDIO]

Television exposure can be a good thing, but one New Jersey community is taking steps to set some guidelines for production crews looking to tape shows there.

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Middletown Township recently introduced an ordinance requiring TV and film production crews to get permits, a move township officials link to the spike of home renovation shows wanting to film at the shore post-Sandy. The township denied the move as pre-emptive against the filming of a reality show starring the family of Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, of “Jersey Shore” fame.

Entertainment lawyer Anthony R. Caruso of the law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck said while shows like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” provide generally positive exposure, history has shown that not all publicity is the kind a municipality would want.

“Sometimes these reality shows may contain a different kind of conflict that may not be synonymous with what the town likes to promote in its image,” Caruso said.

Seaside Heights, host of “Jersey Shore” on MTV, has said it’s ready to move on beyond the often salacious image the show presented.

Other shore towns have already passed resolutions, similar to Middletown, to regulate filming.

Caruso said even the productions with the best intentions can bring with them heavy traffic delays and increased public safety concerns for residents. These ordinances help to prevent towns from getting saddled with the costs.

“Obviously, if there needs to be overtime or excess police force to monitor the general public, the essence of these ordinances is putting that cost on the production company,” Caruso said.

Middletown officials said numerous home renovation shows have reached out to the township.

“Sandy is just one of many factors that seemed to make Jersey Shore towns now in vogue,” Caruso said.

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