South Carolina reality TV series raises eyebrows in polite society

Sun Mar 2, 2014 1:06pm EST
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By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Bravo TV's new reality show "Southern Charm," set in Charleston's historic downtown among the moss-draped oaks and mansions on the South Carolina coast, promises to reveal "the Neverland of the South, where men don't want to grow up."

The show is raising eyebrows in the refined city ahead of its premier on Monday night. It features a cast of six wealthy, single, hard-partying local "aristocrats," including Thomas Ravenel, a polo-playing former South Carolina politician and state treasurer.

A member of a prominent family that settled in the Lowcountry around Charleston in the late 1600s, Ravenel, 51, is the son of a former congressman and a self-made millionaire with a master's degree in business administration.

Some established Charleston families aren't happy about the show or Ravenel's role in it, and are worried the series will embarrass the city.

Prioleau Alexander, 51, a marketer and advertiser who lives in nearby Mount Pleasant and is an old school chum of Ravenel, said the show sounds like an exercise in narcissism.

Will people watch it?

"Yes, simply for the puke factor," he said.

Charleston, once home to colonial society and debutante balls, has evolved into a cosmopolitan city and international tourist destination.   Continued...