Anyone watching popular TLC shows such as “Cake Boss” and “Say Yes to the Dress” of late probably has seen the promotional spots for the launch of the reality series “Welcome to Myrtle Manor.”
This program, which premieres at 10 p.m. next Sunday, delves into the lifestyle and everyday doings at Patrick’s Mobile Home Park, on Highway 15 in Myrtle Beach.
Two officials from the show – Alon Orstein, vice president of production and development East Coast for TLC, and Matt Sprouse, a New York-based co-executive producer/executive in charge for Jupiter Entertainment – spelled out some specifics for “Myrtle Manor.” Jupiter’s production credits include series and specials for A&E, Animal Planet, Discovery, Fuse, History, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen and TruTV.
Question | How many episodes will make up this premiere season, and how many seasons are planned at this point?
Orstein | “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” is a 10-part series. Currently, a decision hasn’t been made about a second season.
Q. | What made this residential site in the heart of Myrtle Beach become that “X marks the spot” choice for this series?
Orstein | The town of Myrtle Beach is a massive tourist destination. We wanted to dig deeper and learn more about the local population and the town itself. We were also intrigued by the Patrick family and wanted to follow their story of running a multi-generational, family-owned trailer park.
Q. | How many people make up the cast, who’s that must-see personality the most for viewers?
Orstein | There are a total of 18 people featured in the show, including Gus, Taylor’s dog. Some folks you see more than others, but it’s a fascinating bunch with very different personalities, and each person adds something unique to the dynamic.
Q. | Let’s remind people just how massive a production that making any TV show is: When was the bulk of filming done, and how long does post-production take to get each episode ready to air?
Sprouse | We began talking with Becky and Cecil about doing a show at the trailer park way back in March 2012, so it’s taken a full year to get from those early conversations to our series premiere. Principal photography took place over three months last summer and fall. Each episode spends several weeks in the edit bay to take it from the raw footage captured in the field to the finished product that folks see on their TV screens.
Q. | How many other trailer homes were brought in to make up the set for filming?
Sprouse | All of the trailer homes used on “Welcome to Myrtle Manor” were already owned by Cecil and Becky. One of the trailers was recently moved from another property where Cecil and Becky were renting it to another family.
Q. | How have the rigors of filming affected the daily life of the other residents at the park?
Sprouse | We have a fantastic crew who were all very aware that we were guests at Myrtle Manor. We made an effort every day to respect the privacy of the residents who did not participate in the show. Just like the residents, our TV crew followed Becky’s trailer park rules. We knew that if we got out of line, we’d have Becky and Cecil to answer to.
Q. | With reality shows covering so much ground and new turf, in every direction, in this new age of television, what hope or goal do producers envision for “Welcome to Myrtle Manor”?
Orstein | TLC wanted to give viewers a taste of a unique Southern community and peel back the curtain on a slice of America they might be curious about.
Q. | Have the real-life characters in this series turned up surprises to which viewers can relate most, whether for happier or sadder reasons?
Orstein | These folks experience the same challenges and triumphs we all go through, whether it’s family/relationship drama or trying to make a business work. Each resident, though, might go about things a bit differently than you might expect, and that’s where the fun comes in.
Q. | For production crews immersed in the program, what outlets of fun on the Grand Strand have they discovered in their free time?
Sprouse | Personally, I love that every time I land in Myrtle Beach I know that people will be friendly and helpful. The residents of Myrtle Beach have been fantastic and made our experience better than we could have ever hoped for. Myrtle Beach has become a home away from home for our crew, and I know they feel the same way about the town as I do.
Some of our favorite spots would include Bummz Beach Cafe for a Sunday lunch on the beach, The Boathouse for a few beers after we wrap, and The Office Italian Pub for a bite to eat after a late night of shooting. Other places that crew frequented: Miyabi’ Japanese Steak & Seafood House, 2001 Nightclub, Soho, and Magoo’s Sports & Spirits.