“Baywatch” creator Gregory J. Bonann is headed back to the beach — and this time, he’s bringing “The Real World” guru Jonathan Murray with him.
In another marriage of the scripted and unscripted worlds, reality vet Bunim-Murray Prods. has pacted with Bonann’s Tower 18 Prods. to develop and produce “Point Dume,” a Malibu-set drama about high school students enrolled in the S.E.A. Corps — a fictional program that puts them to work with lifeguards, Coast Guard members and firefighters.
“Baywatch” scribes Tanquil Collins and Vickie Bronaugh created the skein with Bonann.
Bunim-Murray and Bonann will begin pitching the projects to various studios and webs in the coming weeks, but there’s already been some international interest in the project.
Murray said he hopes to bring the verite style of Bunim-Murray’s reality skeins to the world of scripted series.
Speaking auds’ language
“We want to take some of the craft we use in reality, and the language (of reality skeins) the audience is used to, and we want to apply it to telling these stories about young people,” Murray said, noting that 15 years of “Real World” experience has prepared him well to tell fictional stories about kids.
“We’ve always had a good eye for casting talent, even though the talent have been real people,” he said. “The actors on this show are going to be younger, and they’ve got to feel authentic, credible.”
Bunim-Murray has produced a couple of scripted telepics, but “Point Dume” would rep the company’s first scripted skein.
Bonann expects “Point Dume” will cover some of the same ground as “The OC” — but with a key difference. “Instead of worrying about what to wear to the prom, they’ll be doing a body search in the ocean in the middle of the night,” he said.
Close to reality
While the S.E.A. Corps is fictional, a similar cadet exists in Los Angeles; Bonann, a longtime lifeguard, has worked in that program.
Bonann said in some ways, “Point Dume” will be “the prequel to ‘Baywatch.’ It shows how those people got their start as lifeguards.”
In addition to Bunim-Murray’s creative auspices, Bonann said he was attracted by the shingle’s ability to produce low-cost programming.
“They have a reputation for being able to produce shows in a financially responsible way,” he said. “And kids don’t care how much money is being spent on a show. You can put ‘Baywatch’ and ‘The Real World’ and ‘ER’ on against each other, and kids don’t care.”
Widely credited as the most-watched TV series during its 11-year run, “Baywatch” was broadcast on every continent and translated into 44 languages. It spawned the spinoffs “Baywatch Nights” and “Baywatch Hawaii.”
In addition to “Real World,” Bunim-Murray produces “Road Rules,” “The Simple Life” and “Starting Over,” along with Richard Branson’s upcoming reality skein for Fox.