CMT is capturing “the ‘ville” in a new documentary-style reality television series titled “Gainesville.”
The drama, which will air Aug. 20 at 10 p.m. on CMT, will depict the lives of seven young adults transitioning into the real world and struggling to find their places in life.
When executive producers and UF alumni Yoav Attias and Nicholas Burnett decided to work on a show that shared a central theme in both of their lives, the choice was obvious: Gainesville.
Attias, 34, and Burnett, 33, spent seven years in Gainesville where they both attended law school.
After Attias began working in television in New York City, he prompted Burnett, his childhood friend, to join him.
The pair then sought different networks to brainstorm with.
“CMT, at the time, had a show called ‘Party Down South,’” Burnett said. “It was something young but a little bit more about people going through trials and tribulations.”
“Gainesville,” which is produced by Wheels Off Entertainment, went through a speedy production.
Attias said it was much quicker than usual to go through all of the elements involved in a new television show.
The idea was to cast relatable individuals. The first individual to be casted was Andreya Giansanti.
“We didn’t want the same character seven times,” Attias said. “She (Giansanti) was really great. She wore her emotions on her sleeves.”
Viewers can expect one very important theme: truth.
The show brings a raw image of real life to the screen in something that viewers can appreciate as being honest and sincere.
“You have to get an honest depiction of what’s playing out,” Attias said. “That’ll be powerful television.”
The show doesn’t focus on Gainesville being a college town. Instead, it navigates away from that theme and focuses on coming of age, Attias said.
“It’s a balance,” Burnett said. “It’s very diverse.”
Other characters in the show add to the diversity, which creates a collective melting pot of personalities.
Local viewers may sense some familiarity, as “Gainesville” features some of the city’s notable hotspots, such as Gator City, The Swamp, the Hippodrome State Theatre and other scenery shots that will provide viewers with a genuine feel of Gainesville, Burnett said.
“One thing we take pride in is the aesthetics of the show,” Burnett said. “You’ll notice that it has a look like ‘Friday Night Lights.’”
Attias said the process of filming in Gainesville opened his eyes to things he’d overlooked when he attended UF.
“Having been in Gainesville for seven years, you think you know the city,” Attias said, “and then coming there and doing the show you’re exposed to all the beautiful areas around Gainesville.”
Burnett and Attias both agree that their background and friendship made the production a smooth one.
“It was certainly a friendship before a business partnership,” Burnett said.
[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 7/23/15]