WLYH Pre-Emption of ‘Amish’ ‘Doesn’t Bother’ Producer

Jul 21, 2004  •  Post A Comment

An executive producer for UPN’s new reality series “Amish in the City” said after his session at the Television Critics Association press tour Tuesday, “It certainly doesn’t bother me” if a local affiliate pre-empts the program.

Executive producer Daniel Laikind was responding to a decision by UPN affiliate WLYH-TV in Lancaster, Pa., to hold the July 28 premiere of “Amish” until it can be reviewed by a panel of local educational leaders. The Lancaster area has a large Amish community. General Manager Matt Uhl was not available for comment, but a station source confirmed the decision.

“If that’s what they choose to do, that’s fine,” Mr. Laikind said of WLYH, which is owned by Clear Channel Communications.

The show follows five young adults from various Amish communities as they go through “rumspringa,” a period during which younger members of normally isolated and modern-technology-rejecting Amish communities leave behind their traditional life to experience the wider world. The show places the five Amish in a Los Angeles mansion with six roommates from more traditional American backgrounds.

Mose, one of the five Amish young people to take part in the show, said he was “neutral” on the WLYH decision. None of the five come from the Lancaster area.

Gil Schwartz, executive VP of communications for CBS and UPN, said he was disappointed in the decision.

“We regret that the viewers of WLYH will be denied the chance to view an important, moving and entertaining program,” he said. “We feel confident after the show is seen the value of “Amish” will be evident and the show will eventually air.”