Country Music Television’s new docu-series “Gainesville” is set to air back-to-back episodes on Aug. 20 at 10 p.m.
The show focuses on a group of seven friends in Gainesville, Fla., as they deal with financial problems, friendships and relationships.
Some locals are concerned about how their city will be portrayed.
Dylan Cone, a psychology major at Santa Fe College, is skeptical about how well the show will depict the city.
“Having a show called Gainesville and having it not accurately represent the city rubs me the wrong way,” Cone said.
On July 30, he created an online petition against the airing of the series, which currently has 1,573 signatures.
Originally from St. Petersburg, Fla., Cone moved to Gainesville last December for school. Though he wasn’t born and raised in Gainesville, he considers it home.
When a friend showed him the sneak peak for the show, he wasn’t happy with what he saw.
“I don’t believe it’s going to show the city in the correct way that I see Gainesville or how the community sees it,” Cone said.
But Nick Burnett, executive producer for Wheels Off Entertainment, said “Gainesville” is not going to be a profile on the city. Instead, it’s about a group of friends, their experiences and how Gainesville is intertwined in their lives.
Burnett said they shot everything in the moment and feels “Gainesville” will be more of a positive reality show.
“I can definitely say it’s not going to be the next Jersey Shore,” Burnett said. “It’s not about people getting drunk and doing stupid things at all.”
This positiveness has to do with the cast themselves being a group of friends that always look out for each other and that can inspire viewers, Burnett said.
Burnett hopes the show will bring positive attention to Gainesville and wants to work with the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce to do other film projects to represent other aspects of the city.
Burnett spent seven years of his life in Gainesville studying for his undergraduate degree and attending law school.
He always had a fondness for Gainesville and saw the show as a great opportunity for the city and a way to return to his alma mater.
Gainesville had the country element that the network was looking for as well as the family values they wanted to represent in the show, Burnett said.
They shot at multiple locations including Gator City Sports Grille, 101 Cantina, Grog House Grill and Diamond Sports Park.
Beth DeSimone, 26, a sports management major at the University of Florida, is the only cast member attending the university. Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., she moved to Ocala, Fla., at age 11 and then moved to Gainesville two years ago.
“If I didn’t go to UF, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life because UF is where I wanted to go,” DeSimone said.
She is the first member of her family to attend college and has paid her tuition on her own working three to four jobs since she was 18.
DeSimone loves having a busy schedule and constantly having to work hard.
“I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck,” DeSimone said. “I refuse to be that person and I also want to give back to my mom and dad at some point in my life.”
Her family is what drives her to never give up.
“My family is number one in my life,” she said.
She describes herself as a guys’ girl and loves everything about sports. Her dream job would be to become a sideline reporter for ESPN.
While filming the pilot episode at Eight Seconds in downtown Gainesville, producers met DeSimone, who was bartending at the time, and thought she would be a good fit. She already knew most of the cast making it easy for everyone to mesh.
Two weeks later, Andreya and Shelby moved into her house and, with permission from DeSimone’s landlord, began filming in August 2014 for four months.
“It’s more real than anything I have seen on T.V.,” DeSimone said.
“I was an open book,” DeSimone added. “I wanted them to have as much of my life as possible.”
In the show, people will see her juggling school, working at Eight Seconds and Buckle at The Oaks Mall, playing softball and interacting with her boyfriend Kenny.
“At times it was overwhelming, I had a full set of classes,” she added. “I’m trying to study…and trying to have fun with my friends at the same time”
DeSimone said there was no fabrication when it came to the storylines for the show. She gave producers her school and work schedule and they worked around that.
With the premiere about two weeks away, Cone has received a lot of support and attention for his petition.
Cone said what he wants most is for the name of the series to be changed. He feels the petition is a way for people to voice their opinions and concerns.