When Camp premieres in the US on NBC next Wednesday at 10pm, few if any viewers will know the series set in a US summer camp was shot in Australia with an Aussie cast.
Just how many Americans tune in, and how they respond, will be fascinating to see.
Executives from the Australian networks who saw the pilot episode at the LA Screenings say the show has a flawed premise and has little or no hope of drawing an audience, at least in Australia.
Created by Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights) and Peter Elkoff (Gossip Girl), it stars Rachel Griffiths as Mack Granger, the newly-divorced camp director/owner who is looking for a fresh start.
Rodger Corser plays Aussie Roger Shepard (all the other characters are American) who owns an upscale camp across the lake. He offers to buy her out and a love-hate relationship ensues. In the pilot there is a smattering of sexual innuendo as teenage counsellors fall in and out of love.
“It’s a PG-rated American Pie or Porky's, silly and juvenile, a slightly naughty Saturday morning show,” one Australian executive who saw the pilot told IF. “The Aussies from the three networks fell about laughing for the wrong reasons.”
Is it possible that further episodes are more entertaining than the pilot? “No, “he said, “because the format doesn’t allow it.”
The exec questioned the 10 pm timeslot, opining that the show is targeted at young teenagers, few of whom are likely to be watching at that hour, and that it has zero appeal to adults.
The Seven Network has the rights to Camp, the final show covered by its since-expired output deal with NBCUniversal. The executive reckoned it’s likely to screen next summer on 7Mate.
Shot in the Tweed Valley area of NSW, the series was produced by Selfish Mermaid, BermanBraun and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures in association with NBCUniversal International Television Production.
The cast includes Nikolai Nikolaeff (Sea Patrol), Thom Green (Dance Academy), Lily Sullivan (Mental), Tim Pocock (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Dena Kaplan (Dance Academy), Charlotte Nicdao (The Slap) and newcomer Charles Grounds.
IF's informant had no criticism of Matchbox, stating the production values are very good. Nor did he have a problem with the actors’ American accents.
Publicising the series, Griffiths told the Los Angeles Times, "It's super refreshing and fun. The kids are just unbelievable. I feel the show is going to be a nursery for another generation of stars."