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Reality show will try to find match for bachelor farmer
By BETSY BLANEY
The Associated Press
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Move over Eva Gabor. Your "Green Acres" rerun days as city-girl-turned-farmer's-wife appear to be numbered.
On Sunday, farmers and ranchers from around Texas came for the first of four open casting calls across the country for a new reality show from the producers of "American Idol" and "The Price is Right." In "The Farmer Wants a Wife," city girls and others will vie for a chance to become a farmer's wife.
Micah Keeney didn't come in a cowboy hat or boots from nearby Shallowater, preferring his typical "comfy" farmer look. He lives alone in a small, old farmhouse on his more than 3,700 acres of cotton, cattle and hay.
Though he doesn't date, the 24-year-old blond said he thought he'd come see if he could find a single woman willing to come live on the land with him.
"I've been waiting for something like this for a while, and I want to be on TV," Keeney said. "I want to be picked. That's the reason I'm here. I think it'll be fun."
The show will air next year on one of the four major networks, said Billy Kemp, the head of casting for Fremantle Media. The format isn't finalized. It could be one farmer or rancher in each of as many as 13 episodes or it could be a different one each week, Kemp said.
It won't be like "Green Acres," where Lisa Douglas, played by Gabor, begrudgingly gave up her life in New York City to join her husband, Oliver Wendell Douglas, portrayed by Eddie Albert, in his dream of living the farmer life.
The new production will be an American version of others that have found success in Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands.
The next casting call was scheduled Friday in Lincoln, Neb. Producers then visit Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 5 and Springfield, Mo., on Nov. 10. Producers are accepting applications from across the country and have had interest from states such as California and Wisconsin.
Those casting the show are looking for single men 25-35 years old who live and work on a farm or ranch, preferably someone who has crops and animals, but that's not required.
"We're not looking for any one thing in particular," said Rebecca Greenberg of Fremantle Media. "We're not limiting ourselves."
Casting for the show's women will begin at a later date.
Urged on by those who know him, Doug Wilde drove about 200 miles from Wall, near San Angelo, for the casting call.
"I've probably gotten 10 phone calls and e-mails from kinfolk and friends" asking if he'd heard of the show, said the 28-year-old Wilde, who stands 6 feet, 5 inches tall. "It sounds like a good deal."
Any woman dating or married to a farmer or a rancher quickly learns that days are long and schedules get tossed when storms -- whether sand, wind, rain or snow -- strike.
Keeney said he's looking for a woman who could smell cow manure, "and then not think I'm a bad guy."
Wilde and Keeney said they're not unhappy living the single life.
"But I would love to have some love out there, too," Keeney said. "It gets lonely."
"They got to be fun," Wilde said. "I don't want a stick in the mud."
More information on the casting calls is available by e-mail at farmercastinggmail.com or by phone at 1-877-255-8009.
On the Net:
Fremantle Media, http://www.fremantlemedia.com