Steelworkers join protest against 'The Real Beverly Hillbillies'


Wednesday, May 7th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ The United Steelworkers of America has joined the protest against CBS' plans for the reality TV series ``The Real Beverly Hillbillies.''

``Poverty and a lack of education may be a joke to those who select television programming, but they are not to the millions of working poor in this country who strive to live their lives with dignity and pride,'' the United Steelworkers' president, Leo W. Gerard, wrote to CBS parent Viacom Inc.

The United Mine Workers of America, people from across the Appalachian region and 43 members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida to Texas have already asked CBS to cancel plans for the show.

A CBS spokeswoman in Los Angeles referred the matter to a network spokesman in New York, who did not return a message Wednesday. Network officials have said previously that they never meant to offend anyone and plans for the show were not definite.

The show would move a poor rural family to a Beverly Hills mansion. It's a takeoff on the original ``Beverly Hillbillies'' hit sitcom that aired on CBS from 1962 to 1971.

In that show, poor mountaineer Jed Clampett (portrayed by Buddy Ebsen) moves his family to Beverly Hills after finding oil on his property.

``In contrast to the original 'Beverly Hillbillies,' who often turned out to be wiser and more clever than their cosmopolitan acquaintances,'' the reality show cast ``will serve as the butt of the network's jokes,'' Gerard wrote.

Last year, the network distributed fliers in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia seeking families interested in participating in the new show.