MTV wants auds to be ‘Scared’ again

Spec to target teens

With the updated “Scared Straight! 20 Years Later” set to preem Thursday on UPN, Arnold Shapiro Prods. is at work on a new installment of the Oscar-winning 1978 docu, “Scared Straight! ’99,” to bow on MTV in July.

The hourlong spec will follow 12 teenage boys — judged by school counselors to be at risk of running afoul of the law — through a daylong, in-your-face encounter with prison life and convicts at New Jersey’s East Jersey State Prison, known at the time of the original spec as Rahway State Prison.

Shapiro will shoot follow-up segs with the boys and their parents in an effort to gauge whether the prison experience left a lasting impression. The prison sequences were shot last month; the reaction segs will be done in June.

MTV is using the spec to kick off an anti-violence public service campaign aimed at teenagers.

“I was shocked when MTV called and said they wanted to do this, but by being on MTV, we’ll reach a whole new generation of kids who might not watch the (UPN) retrospective,” Shapiro noted.

Shapiro’s indie production company has a host of specs set to bow this year, including two more installments of the syndie “Teen Files” issue-oriented specs for Paramount.

In May, the Discovery Channel cabler will bow Shapiro’s three-hour primetime spec “Inside America’s Military Academies,” while the Learning Channel unveils the two-hour “Countdown 100: The Greatest Achievements of the 20th Century” in December.

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