We’ll just get right to it: The CW doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to reality shows. “America’s Next Top Model” is the only one that’s lasted more than a season, and that was adopted from UPN when The CW took its place in 2006.
Paul Fisher, whose “Remodeled” kicked off Tuesday night on The CW, insists that his show is not a reality show. “We call it a docu-series,” he tells us when we sit down with him and his assistant, Joseph Villanueva. “The reason being that we just allowed them to follow us in what we do every single day. It was a dream of mine to transform the modeling industry, and when Sony found out what we were doing, they asked if they could do a show on us. We fought it for six months, saying ‘This isn’t a business to us! This is a mission of passion!’ We don’t look at it as a reality show. This is what we do every single day.”
“I was reluctant at first. I didn’t meet Paul and join the Network to be on a show. I wanted to make sure that it was safe in that the way myself and Paul were going to be perceived. I wanted it to be professional,” adds Villanueva. “We just wanted them to follow us as opposed to create scenes and guide us. After that was cleared up I was excited. I’m glad now that we have a television show.”
Fisher’s business is The Network Model Community — its tagline is “Where beauty meets responsibility.” He takes that seriously, particularly when it comes to body image. In the first episode, Kris Humphries’ sister Kaela Humphries, a plus size model, is featured.
“There’s a word that I can’t stand, this word ‘plus-size’ model,” he says. “Kaela, they call her a plus-size model. I don’t even know what this word plus means. She’s normal. She’s perfect. She’s beautiful. They should call our models skinny people. The whole thing is wrong. It’s backwards. It doesn’t matter if she weighs 160, 180 — it’s completely irrelevant.”
Fisher fights with models — and their parents — to make sure that they’re eating enough and staying a school. “I want to create a safe environment for young women,” he says. “I want the modeling industry to be a safe environment.”
Fisher tells us we’ll continue to follow Kaela’s story throughout the season.
When “American Idol” first began, Simon Cowell drew attention to the fact that meanness can make for good television. Fisher admits that he often straddles the line between criticism and bullying. “Some people want to call it meanness, but my mom says ‘No, Paul, you’re passionate,'” he tells us. “I know my communication skills sometimes suck. They suck. I know that. But my intentions are to teach agencies that in this physical world we can be good at things or we can be great. They can become great, or they can be good.”
Fisher and Villanueva tell us that they have high hopes for seven out of the eight agencies featured in the first season of the show.
As for that eighth agency?
“You’ll have to tune in to Episode 2 and find out,” Villanueva teases. They may not want to call it a reality show — but he’s certainly got the reality show press routine down pat.