is proving to be quite an overachiever for PBS. Since being relaunched on the network last month, the acclaimed reality series which got prematurely expelled by Fox back in August has helped PBS post solid year-to-year gains on Wednesday nights among kids 12-17 (up 33 percent) and adults 18-24 (up 150 percent). What's more, traffic on PBS.org has reached an all-time high.
It should come as little surprise, then, that a follow-up is being discussed. But according to executive producer R.J. Cutler, don't expect American High: The College Years. "We would go into a second season in a new high school," he tells TV Guide Online. "We'll find a community that provides a natural contrast to the [suburban Chicago locale] we worked in for the first series."
Still, Cutler says that regardless of American High's setting, the show's basic themes will likely remain the same. "I believe we'll see that kids in South Central L.A. or in New York City have a lot in common with suburban kids," he says. "So, if we get to do a second season, I think it's going to only deepen the kind of discoveries made in year one."
Ironically, the success of such lowbrow reality fare as Temptation Island and Boot Camp may increase the odds that Cutler will someday venture back into the classroom. "It's good for everybody when there are hit shows," admits the 1994 Oscar nominee (for the documentary The War Room). "It doesn't make it harder that those shows are successful, it actually makes it easier. It's a very, very good environment to be doing non-fiction television."
That said, is the accomplished filmmaker suggesting that the aforementioned Survivor clones are good television? Smirks Cutler: "I think Survivor is a really good show."