MTV ditches school

Times Staff Writer

After three seasons of dramatizing the daily lives of the privileged youth of Laguna Beach, MTV will move a few miles north to dramatize the lives of the even more privileged youth of Newport Beach.

"Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County," will premiere at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 15 with a cast from Newport Harbor High School. Like "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," the show will focus on a few personalities in their senior year in a narrative feature format.

"Laguna Beach" made stars of its featured high-schoolers, some of whom went on to pursue careers in entertainment and populate the pages of US Weekly. One of them, Lauren Conrad, will star in the third season of the spin-off "The Hills," also starting next month on MTV.

After Season 2, the "Laguna Beach" cast changed -- its main love triangle of Conrad, Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti was no longer on the show. Its new cast failed to ignite viewers' interest in Season 3, and the show's ratings suffered.

The Newport version will also include parents, said Tony DiSanto, MTV's executive vice president of programming.

In the series, for instance, one of the main characters will face a collision with her father when she tries to date the cutest boy in school.

Despite complaints from parents' groups about sexual situations on "Laguna Beach," and from Laguna locals that the show had misrepresented their town, DiSanto said the main reason for moving the show north was because the best kids with the best stories were found in Newport.

Besides, he said, "We'd seen all the locations in Laguna, all the hangouts."

"Newport offers something new and different," he said. "The boating, the coastline, the homes. You have a different flavor when you watch the show."

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