mile-high tv

Southwest Airlines reality TV series takes flight, but will it shun the Texas home base?

Southwest Airlines reality TV series takes flight, but will it shun the Texas home base?

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Photo by Charles Dharapak/AP

Cable network TLC has ordered 13 episodes of a reality TV series that will take viewers behind the scenes of Southwest Airlines. According to an exclusive report in The Wrap, the show is “focused on the trials and tribulations of a modern American airline company.”

Though the airline is Dallas-based, the big D’s film commissioner Janis Burklund says there’s no word yet on whether any episode will be shot there. Or anywhere else in Texas, for that matter. 

What we do know is that production is to begin this weekend at Baltimore and Denver airports. If they haven’t talked to Burklund yet, that’s not a promising sign for Dallas; she’s the one who has to make the locations happen.

Show us some love, TLC! We’ve got airports out the kazoo and well, Texas is Southwest’s HOME. Now that's reality.

Remember the Pace Picante Sauce commercial with the angry cowboys who found out one brand was, “Made in New York City!" and commenced to, "Get a rope!” because of it?

That will be the feeling if Dallas is left out of this series.

It’s also kind of weird — and a little suspicious — that this series is even getting off the ground, if you'll forgive the pun. After all, there was a 2004-2005 reality series on A&E that sounds exactly like the new one. That network's Airline showcased Southwest, too. It didn’t last very long, and I never watched it. Did you? Did you even know it was airing?

 On the surface, this sure can look like a PR deal. What company in their right mind would want cameras “behind the scenes” of their business operation unless they had total control of the outcome? 

Comments posted on The Wrap are indicative of what most TV viewers are probably thinking: “It’s not a new show…it’s just coming back.” And, “I’ll stick to Pan Am.”

One comment is dead on: “Is Southwest putting up any money for production? What editorial control will they have?”

On the surface, this sure can look like a PR deal. What company in their right mind would want cameras “behind the scenes” of their business operation unless they had total control of the outcome? I’m a producer, and I know how that goes down.

Also, Southwest has had to wrestle with some bad PR lately. Like when Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong got kicked off a plane because of his low, low pants. And when director Kevin Smith was ejected for being overweight. And then came the lesbian kissers.

This new show certainly could be seen as a way to project the image the airline wants projected.

There’s no air date or title yet, so let’s put on our thinking caps and help out the producers.

How about calling it Southwest Déjà Vu? Or Re-Friending the Friendly Skies? (Oops, no, that’s another airline.) Perils of Passengers Who Don’t Conform?

Come on, let's see what titles you come up with. What should TLC call their new mile-high show?