Surviving the Barrio

Urban Jungle premieres on SiTV, June 6

By Luz Maria Castellanos
Published on LatinoLA: May 24, 2004

Surviving the Barrio

Reality TV takes a detour down the streets of East L.A. on Sunday, June 6th when S? TV, a new English-Language Latino network, premiers ?Urban Jungle,? an original unscripted reality series/social experiment in which nine privileged contestants are striped of their Beemers and cell phones and are given labor-intensive jobs washing cars, selling icicles on the street, and cleaning houses in Beverly Hills all for the chance to win a $50,000 prize.

Shot in East and South Los Angeles, ?Urban Jungle? challenges nine suburban contestants from all over the country, ages 18-25, to live in a cramped two bedroom house for a month and compete against each other while trying to survive in the ?barrio.? Participants, including some whose toughest challenge in life has been playing soccer and rolling out of bed at noon, will leave their privileged lives behind as they reinvent themselves and learn to interact with the surrounding community.

Show creator and S? TV co-founder Jeff Valdez noted, ?This is more than just a reality show, it?s a social experiment. We?re taking these kids, whose only window into the barrio is a crime story on the late night news, and immersing them into a brand new environment. This show will humanize the Latino barrio and hopefully teach these kids a thing or two about life on the other side of the tracks.?

Upon their arrival in the barrio, contestants will be appointed jobs common in the community such as working in a bakery, washing cars, selling icicles on the street, house cleaning and other jobs requiring manual labor. Each competitor will also be assigned a Padrino who will act as a lifeline and assume responsibility for them.

With the help of Pete Esquivel, Armando Cosio, and Marilyn Martinez ? three street-wise yet benevolent Padrinos (Godparents) from the neighborhood ? contestants will learn the ropes of the barrio. But the Padrinos will also judge the contestants based on three criteria: respect of others, attitude, and work ethic. Those who don?t make the grade are told, ?You?re Evicted!? until there is only one person standing.

Sasha, Dustin, Vanessa, J.P., Salomon, Kimberly, Janine, Rich, Bryan?say good-bye to the ?burbs and hello to the barrio!

For more information:
Luz Maria Castellanos (323) 543-2778, LMCastellanos@SiTV.com

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