WASHINGTON - MTV was asked to cancel a West Virginia-based reality show Friday by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who said the series will unfairly portray the state.
The network last month announced "Buckwild" will involve nine young men and women and their adventures around Sissonville, much like "Jersey Shore" about kids from New Jersey.
"Buckwild" will show inaccurate stereotypes of West Virginians, Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, told Stephen K. Friedman, president of MTV.
"As a U.S. senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth. I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud about profiting off of 'Buckwild,'" Manchin said in a letter to Friedman.
"We do not have a comment at this time," said Jake Urbanski, a spokesman.
MTV last month announced the show will start next month. The network describes the show as an comedic series following an outrageous group of childhood friends from the rural foothills of West Virginia.
"Money might be tight in their neck of the woods, but whether they're throwing a dump truck pool party or building their own human slingshot, nothing stops them from making their own entertainment," a promo of the show says. "Love and relationships come and go, but their bond with family and friends is always at the core for this eccentric group where anything goes."
Manchin called the show a travesty.
"Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong," Manchin said.
Manchin has jumped to the defense of the state in similar situations in the past. His uncle, the late A. James Manchin, who was a secretary of state, treasurer and member of the House of Delegates, also took those to task for demeaning the image of West Virginians.
In 2008, Sen. Manchin, who then was governor, chastized the producers of a horror movie, "Shelter," for seeking actors with unusual or abnormal physical features to portray West Virginians.
A message for a comment from Gov. Earl Ray Tombin was not immediately returned.
Ravenswood Mayor Michael Ihle called it a publicity stunt amid other major issues needing attention. While Ihle said he agreed in principle with Manchin, other issues before Ravenswood, the state and the nation are more important, such as the national debt and the "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year if a budget deal is reached, Ihle said.
"What does this mean in the grand scheme things," Ihle rhetorically asked.
Buckwild portrays the ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia, Manchin said in his letter.
"Your program offers nothing about the major issues of our time: How we move our country forward, how we prepare young people to lead this country and take responsibility for themselves and how we put our finances in better shape for the next generation," Manchin said. "I am writing to urge you to reconsider airing this show. I hope that as you consider your decision, that you would consider your own state, your own community and your own children. Would you try to portray them in this light?"