Wednesday, June 23, 2004
New ‘Reality TV’ Show Pits New Lawyers Against Each Other
By DAVID KLINE
SACRAMENTO (CAPITOL)—Fox television’s latest twist on “reality TV” will pit new lawyers against each other in a competition for what the network is advertising as a “major career opportunity.”
And there most definitely will be cameras allowed in the courtroom.
“The gist of the show is very simple,” casting director Dana Tomsic said. “We’re getting newly admitted attorneys—preferably young, but it doesn’t really matter—and they will go through courtroom showdowns and mock trials in front of a high-profile judge, competing for a major career opportunity.”
The judge has not yet been selected, but likely will be a well-known person with experience on the bench in a real court, Tomsic said.
She said the job at the end of the lawyers’ rainbow probably will be kept secret until the show’s finale, a la “The Apprentice,” the NBC hit which featured handsome young people vying for a high-paying job in one of Donald Trump’s companies.
The show will be taped during a four-week period in August and will premiere this fall on Fox, she said.
Tomsic, who works for a casting company called Rocket Science Laboratories, ran the talent search in San Francisco and Chicago. Associates held casting calls in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C.
She said she the lawyers trying to get on the show range from Yale Law School graduates to those who attended low-cost night schools. Most of the lawyers are young, but one of the applicants in San Francisco last week was a 59-year-old man who just passed the California bar exam, Tomsic said.
“They want the publicity,” she said of the applicants. “They see what it did for people on ‘The Apprentice’—even those who didn’t make it through.”
Tomsic said the lawyers who survive until the late rounds of the competition will have opportunities to make money sitting for interviews with entertainment TV shows.
“Just the interviews alone are enough to pay the bills for a while, at least to pay off some of your law school debts,” she said.
The number of lawyers who will appear on the show has not yet been determined, Tomsic said. She said the casting directors are nearing the end of the interview process, and soon will be forwarding tapes and recommendations to the show’s producers in Los Angeles.
Along with posting notices on Internet job search sites, the team contacted career centers at law schools and publicized their search with appearances on radio and television.
The production, under the working title of “The Legal Show,” also has set up a Web site where applicants can get instructions on how to make and submit video tapes of themselves.
The Web site, at www.thelegalshowcasting.com, includes a list of questions that should be addressed, and urges applicants to make a strong “closing argument” to convince producers they are right for the show.
To qualify, an applicant must be a legal resident of the United States who was first admitted to practice law after April 1, 2003. The applicant can be a member of the bar in any state or the District of Columbia.
Applicants can count on the rules being adhered to strictly, the casting director said.
“Because we’re dealing with lawyers, we’re really crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s,” Tomsic said.
This isn’t the first taste of legal reality for the casting director. Her parents are attorneys in San Francisco.
“My dad said, ‘I knew you would get into law one day,’” she said.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company