It's been more than a decade since Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, the coming-of-age reality series that turned Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari into household names, wrapped its three-season run on MTV and now producers are looking to recreate that success with their newest unscripted drama.
Taking place on the glittery shores of a small coastal Florida town, Siesta Key follows a group of friends returning home for the summer after their first year of college. The similar subject matter and shared producers will undoubtedly draw comparisons to the 2004 reality juggernaut and its spin-off The Hills, but that doesn't seem to bother producers one bit.
"We love the comparison to Laguna Beach and The Hills," executive producer Mark Ford tells us. "If you had to pick a show, Laguna Beach is a great reference to it because it's in this sort of idyllic town. It's a group of kids that grew up together, that are coming of age and dealing with those growing pains."
However, that's where the similarities end. While Laguna Beach and The Hills managed to pack all that teen drama into a half hour, Siesta Key will have more wiggle room with each hour-long episode. "We just have more time to delve into the kids' emotional lives and their family lives," he added. "The characters are a little older so they're wrestling with different issues than what you wrestle with in high school."
Issues that are bound to come up include coping with one's parents splitting up and figuring out what to do after college. What definitely won't be included? Hilarious mispronunciations of characters' names, as seen on Laguna Beach.
"I think it's just one of those weird things," Ford said of Cavallari's odd, but iconic pronunciation of Stephen Colletti's name. "Kristin said it all the time and you could only cut around it so many ways. But I don't think it was intentional. It was real."
It's exactly unscripted moments like that which helped launch Laguna Beach to success. And though The Hills eventually embraced the show's more produced and scripted aspects, Ford says that Siesta Key will be get back to the unscripted reality that they were able to capture in Laguna Beach.
"I was there producing it. We never told any cast member to say one word," Ford said of Laguna Beach. "We didn't know where the season would end. It was all left up to chance...These were real relationships and real friendships and real crushes and real heartbreaks. It just so happens that the cameras were rolling at the right times."
Expect that same authenticity to continue with his new show.
Siesta Key premieres Monday, July 31 at 10/9c on MTV.