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Are reality shows good for Atlanta?

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ATLANTA -

No matter what channel you turn to, reality shows are right in your face. More and more reality show producers are turning to Georgia and the metro Atlanta area for inspiration. But is that a good thing?

According to Georgia's Department of Economic Development, there are nearly a dozen reality shows that use parts of Georgia as a backdrop. There are some who question whether life is starting to imitate art.

From the Real Housewives of Atlanta to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Georgia and its citizens are on display. But the picture isn't always pretty.

"Our family dynamic is very, very organic. What you see on the television is absolutely what you get on the television show," said Trina Braxton.

Braxton stars in one of the more tame reality shows shot in the metro area, Braxton Family Values. She's lived in Atlanta for more 15 years and sees both the advantages and disadvantages of the city becoming such a TV star.

"One of the great things about reality shows filming in Atlanta is that you get to see all those wonderful and historic places. One of the bad things about reality shows, especially when there is such a plethora of them being here, is that you get a lot of repetition," said Braxton.

Once a show is shot, its footage -- including fights, lewd scenes, and stereotypical behavior -- is replayed continuously. C. Anthony Mulrain is an entertainment lawyer who says he generally advises his clients against doing reality shows simply because it can hurt their image. He says reality shows are starting to tarnish Georgia's reputation.

"I'd like to think that the individuals that watch the shows know and understand that it's about sensationalism. It's about selling advertising spots. It's about what's going to keep the public interest, and not necessarily in line with the reality with what goes on with the typical person that lives in Atlanta or Georgia," explained Mulrain.

Atlanta native Kelly Smith Beaty was once a reality show participant herself. She was in season 10 of The Apprentice. She says our kids are paying a price.

"The scary part about that is that when we talk to our children or when we talk to teachers who are right in the frontlines of what the future of Atlanta will look, it's beginning to mirror what's happening on our television sets," said Beaty.

She says to reverse the trend, Georgians have to take control of their image and show the world what's real and what's not.

"The real reality is that we're a phenomenal city. We're made up of phenomenal people. We've got phenomenal stories to tell. That's the real reality of Atlanta," said Beaty.

There are some communities who have taken back a little bit of control from reality show production crews. In New Jersey, home of the infamous show, The Jersey Shore, there is proposed legislation that would limit the amount of city and taxpayer resources used for reality shows. It's named the Snookiville Bill.

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