Levi Johnston to run for mayor in reality pitch

Mon Aug 9, 2010 11:48pm EDT
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Levi Johnston's proposed reality show will chronicle his attempts to follow in Sarah Palin's footsteps -- running for mayor in Wasilla, Alaska.

Johnston is partnering with reality production veterans Stone and Co. (TLC's "Extreme Food Sculpting"), which confirmed it is shooting a pilot with Johnston and pitching the concept to networks.

Titled "Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor's Office," the show will have a three-pronged focus: Johnston vying for office, being a father to Tripp (the child he has with Bristol Palin, with whom he recently split again) and attempting to pursue a career in Hollywood.

Johnston told Variety, which first reported the news, that the mayoral run wasn't originally his idea but was pitched to him by producers Scott Stone and David Weintraub.

Johnston and Bristol Palin have been looking into launching a reality show for months. With the couple split, refocusing Johnston on a narrative-friendly goal like running for mayor made sense from a producing standpoint. Bristol's mom Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla from 1996-2002.

Networks tend to be surprisingly wary of tabloid figures shopping reality shows. For example, Nadya ("Octomom") Suleman never landed a series order despite months of media reports about shopping one. However, the attractive Johnston should be able land a potential buyer or two, particularly among female-targeted cable networks.

One reality producer expects the show will secure a buyer if Johnston has "any kind of personality."

"I can't imagine that he has enough celebrity on his own that people will tune it in," the producer added. "With a real celebrity, you can put them on TV doing boring stuff and it's interesting. But when it's not really a celebrity, they have to be doing something interesting. Maybe running for mayor is funny enough, and he could probably win because he has the name recognition. And then he'll be mayor of Wasilla. The world keeps getting weirder and weirder."

<p>Levi Johnston poses at the 14th annual GQ magazine "Men of the Year" party in Los Angeles November 18, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>