Jersey Shore homage Lake Shore makes splash

The Toronto-based reality show is building buzz and looking for sponsors and brands to integrate.

Move over, Snooki. Canada is getting its own version of hit reality series Jersey Shore as the buzz behind Lake Shore gains momentum.

Creator and executive producer Maryam Rahimi says there’s strong broadcaster interest and she’s hoping to be able to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, the eight-person Lake Shore cast has been revealed, decided by public votes through its website. Traffic has been so high since the release of a sizzle reel (which garnered thousands of hits on YouTube and triggered a flurry of local consumer press) that it disabled part of the site’s functionality.

Rahimi is currently looking for sponsors and brands to integrate into the show and is hoping to include everything from hair care to pet care brands (there will be puppies in the house). She’s already inked a merchandising deal with an apparel manufacturer in the Middle East that will be rolling out branded lingerie and hats.

The target demographic for the show is 18- to 30-year-olds who party and follow trends and are internet savvy.

It’s expected there will be a more traditional promotional strategy for the show once the broadcaster announces a deal, but Rahimi isn’t waiting. The current strategy of social media PR leading to earned media will continue via online and mobile. Rahimi is also hoping to organize Lake Shore events and contests to engage viewers leading up to and during the show’s run.

The over-the-top nature of the show, displayed amply in the sizzle reel, was created on purpose.

‘I was not about to do PA work for a good 10 years before I reached where I wanted to be in life,’ Rahimi says of her reasons for creating the series. ‘I needed to do something bold, risqué. I wanted to pick a concept that’s doing really well right now and try to do my own version of it.’

She refers, of course, to Jersey Shore. ‘I know that Jersey Shore doesn’t mind any spinoffs, we’ve done that research,’ she says. ‘We’re not out there saying it is Jersey Shore; it’s a show inspired by Jersey Shore.’

Rahimi, 26, adds that it’s also inspired by The Real World, as Lake Shore also delves into each character’s personal and professional life.

It’s her first foray into TV, having come from indie film and making music videos in Montreal. Rahimi recently moved to Toronto to find a job in TV, then came up with the concept earlier this spring.

Jersey Shore is the hottest thing right now, so as a businesswoman, I decided that was the best investment,’ she says. ‘As a producer, I saw that’s what’s in demand and that’s what the audience and demographic want to watch.’

She brought on investors from the Middle East, with whom she’d done commercial work, and raised $60,000 to develop the 13-episode, one-hour series. Director George Tsioutsioulas (The Story of Furious Pete, Miles from Home: A Road Story) has come on board along with creative director Raluca Ene.

Rahimi is looking to extend the Lake Shore drama on the website after the show launches, including commentary from the crew, an after show with the cast and behind-the-scenes content.

Lake Shore is slated to enter production in spring 2011, with a tentative delivery date of mid-summer 2011.

From Playback Online