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Reality show seeks to solve local crime problems

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A team of television producers has come to Clayton County looking to help local crime victims, for the first season of an upcoming reality show.

Tentatively called, "The Operators," the CBS show will feature three victims in each episode and a team of current and former law enforcement officials will solve each person's problem.

For "The Operators," the producers are looking for Clayton County, and area residents, who have suffered from crime, including auto theft, burglary, graffiti, drugs, bullying and gangs.

"We want to address the issues in the community," said Steve Joachim, a field producer for the show. "How can we help the folks who really need it?"

The show is being produced by the people who previously brought "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and "Kid Nation" to television. Joachim said the group is interested in serious, "life-changing" reality television programs that seek to impact people in positive ways, and not just exploit their desire to be on TV.

"We're casting the net wide," he said. "We're not really ruling anything out, yet."

A casting call for the new series is being held on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 9 a.m., to 9 p.m., at Renaissance Concourse Hotel, 1 Hartsfield Center Parkway, Atlanta.

The press release promises that the show's "team of the nation's leading law enforcement officials can solve crimes, clean up neighborhoods and bring bad guys to justice." It invites victims to come and tell their story. People interested in auditioning for the show are instructed to bring photographs, legal documents, police reports and any other applicable information.

Joachim said the idea for the show developed out of limitations with the home makeover show. "A house can't fix the problem all the time," he said. "You can build people houses, but it doesn't change what happens once you walk out that front door. The houses that we built for people definitely did have a positive effect on their lives, and did make a difference. But the problems, a lot of times, were bigger than what was inside the home."

Joachim said that, unlike some other reality shows that fix problems -- cars, wardrobes, relationships, etc., -- there aren't really "cookie-cutter solutions" to crime, and some portion of the episode may be devoted to following the experts as they try to figure out how to solve the problem.

"Every situation is different, from what we've found out so far," Joachim said. "We don't even know what's going to happen. Our team and the local authorities have to be on their toes and be ready for anything."