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Creator on first all-black reality show

'College Hill' follows group of students

Edmonds
"College Hill" executive producer Tracey Edmonds

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(CNN) -- "College Hill" is a new, all African-American reality series that chronicles the joys and pains of black college life through the eyes of eight students. The show airs Wednesday on BET.

Tracey Edmonds, executive producer of "College Hill," talked with CNN anchor Daryn Kagan about the show.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tracey Edmonds, do we need another reality show?

TRACEY EDMONDS, EXEC. PROD., "COLLEGE HILL": We need this one, because we don't have any African-American reality shows. This is, like, the first of its kind. And even though we shot this at a black college campus, these students are so colorful, interesting, exuberant, they have so much personality and so many issues that we're exploring, that regardless of whether you're white, black or whatever color you are, you're going to be fascinated by these stories

KAGAN: But we're going to see things that we haven't seen on other young people reality shows, like "Real World" or "Road Rules."

EDMONDS: Yes, we have stories that we're covering that you've never seen before. I mean, Shalondrea, our sophomore, is pregnant, and so while she's navigating going through the academic side of her life, she's also trying to figure out who her baby's father is. So there's a lot of things that we haven't seen before.

KAGAN: Oh my.

And your cameras were everywhere. This was shot on the campus of Southern University, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was shot 24 hours a day.

EDMONDS: We had cameras everywhere, in the dorm rooms, the bedrooms, we had mikes everywhere. So we're looking at everything and not censoring.

KAGAN: Let's see a clip that would show just that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KINDA: I'm 18 and I'm a freshman. The boys on the ... honors dorm, they call me "no drawers," now they've shortened it to "no," because I feel that underwear is sometimes so constricting, and you know, we should all just be free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Kinda
Kinda is "College Hill's" wild child.

KAGAN: We should just be free. The girl's not wearing underwear.

EDMONDS: Yes, Kinda, she's very interesting, yes. She's a little sexually promiscuous. But, you know, she's a freshman exploring her liberation and being on the college campus.

KAGAN: All right. OK. How do you walk that line between you want to show a fresh perspective, because on a typical reality show you'll have the token African-American, you want to show a different slice of life, but you also don't want to then reinforce stereotypes.

EDMONDS: Right, the eight students that we picked are all very smart, very articulate, very uninhibited, and we picked them because they had a lot of personal issues we wanted to explore that we haven't seen before on TV. So the positive side is that you've eight really bright, dynamic, you know, smart kids, but we also have some issues that need to be covered that are going on in real life, and you know, we keep it raw, and we keep it real.

KAGAN: Let me ask you a business question, because you're a successful entertainment executive. Can a show like this only run on a network like BET? Could you sell something like this to a mainstream network?

EDMONDS: I would hope so, you know, I would hope so. BET, I'm so excited that they were willing to take that leap with us and allow us to do this, and it will be the first of its kind. It will be groundbreaking. But I hope after this airs, I hope that we'll have more doors open for regular television network as well. ...

It's fun and it's funny, too. It's controversial. It's going to get a lot of people talking

KAGAN: All right, we will be watching for it. Give us the plug again. When can we see it?

EDMONDS: We're going to see it -- it's on [Wednesdays] at 9:00 on BET.

KAGAN: It's on BET, "College Hill." Tracey Edmonds. Thanks. Good luck with it. It looks like there is some drama going on. OK, appreciate it.

EDMONDS: Thank you.


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