I’m off until July 21. If you have breaking TV/radio news, contact Jennifer Brett of Buzz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s something I wrote before I left:
For many years, Ringgold’s Joan Koplan wanted to be a celebrity. You know, just famous.
Her husband Irwin humored her but never thought it could possibly happen given she ran a personal security firm.
But then a specific genre of reality TV came along, focused on slice-of-life segments from parts of the country rarely seen in scripted TV, often in small towns such as “Pawn Stars,” “Cajun Pawn Stars.” “American Hoggers,” and “Shark Wranglers.”
AMC, home to “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead,” is jumping into the fray, giving Joan a chance to show off her quirky family business, JJK Security, in a reality show called “Small Town Security,” which debuts Sunday for the first of eight episodes after the fifth season debut of “Breaking Bad.”
At age 61, Joan curses like a sailor and is known as The Chief at her office, which she opened in 1984. She provides security guards for corporations and special events, as well as bodyguard services for prominent folks. She’s licensed in Georgia and Tennessee. She tried to do business in Atlanta but said it was too cutthroat.
Her connection to Hollywoood was an old friend who got a job at the William Morris Agency. She taped a demo reel about her business and he helped her shopp it around. A production company bit, then sold it to AMC over another unnamed network. But the wheels turned slowly. It took two years to make it to air. “I went through periods where I said, ‘This is getting to be a nightmare,’ ” Joan says. “It was making me sick, the waiting.”
She’s confident her interplay with her husband and employees will tickle viewers. “It’s going to be a hit,” she says. “I just have a gut feeling. We get along beautifully together. But then, of course, there’s fighting. But we all kiss and make up. It’s just weird the things that go on.”
“I hope to have a successful show and my business won’t be hurt by it,” she adds.
Lt. Dennis Kroft, operations manager who has worked with JJK for 12 years, says people have mentioned to them that they’d make a great reality show. He wasn’t convinced until he saw the demo reel. “We’re all very different people,” he said, “but we work as a unit.”
Christina Stevens, the 29-year-old secretary who has known Joan for 13 years, says she tries to keep the peace. “I like being in the limelight with her,” she says. “I like that they call it a docudrama. Nothing is set up. The only time something is re-filmed is if the camera messes up or runs out of tape. It’s 100% authentic. We like to play around a lot but when there’s work, we get serious.”
Brian Taylor, a private investigator, admits many of his cases don’t show up on camera because those types of clients don’t like the publicity. “We respect our clients’ confidentiality,” he said.
“Small Town Security”
Debuts Sunday at 11:04 p.m. on AMC after “Breaking Bad”
Recent stories on other reality shows out of Georgia: “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” debuts big.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk