The un-aired ABC reality show Welcome to the Neighborhood featured three conservative Christian families choosing a family from an “alternative” pool of contestants (African-American, Hispanic, Korean, Wiccan, tattooed, gay, and a strip-tease artist) in order to find a new neighbor for an Austin, Texas cul-de-sac. The Chicago Tribune takes a look at the entire series and reports that the taping exposed that city’s ugly discriminatory underbelly.
Writer Howard Witt reports that the show itself actually revealed some softening of prejudicial attitudes after the damning first two episodes which most critics of the series saw. The finalists came down to the black couple and the gay couple, and the resident who declared he would never tolerate homosexuals said “You forget about the gay issue and realize they are just people” while another resident declared “what nice, pleasant and even well-versed people” he found in the black family.
In real life, however, an entirely different story was playing out. When the gay couple won the house, the neighbors behind them put theirs up for sale, saying they couldn’t live near homosexuals. And recently, another black family bought a house on the cul-de-sac, prompting one of the more tolerant residents on the street to comment, “I’m feeling a little uncomfortable for them, not really knowing what they were getting into. I hope they’ll like it here.”
Welcome to the Neighborhood: Roll Out the Unwelcome Wagon
UPDATE: Reality blurred reports that FOX Reality Channel has made ABC an offer for the series but ABC refuses to let it go. ABC Entertainment President McPherson: “If I don’t think something should be aired, why would I sell it to somebody else? For financial gain or just to get it out there? That doesn’t make any (sense). If you don’t think something is responsible to be broadcast, why would you encourage it to be broadcast elsewhere?”