By Adam Coleman

FremantleMedia Australia is developing a "high-gloss docusoap" about Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and has sought input from the producers of US programs like MTV’s The Hills and Laguna Beach.

The series, yet to be green-lit and tentatively called The East, will “follow the journey of young women as they blossom in the Eastern suburbs” according to FremantleMedia director of digital media and alternative programming, Chris Culvenor.

“We are looking at a soft-scripted series, which is in the same sort of vein as The Hills,” he told INSIDEFILM.

“It’s about the twenty somethings that are just about to get that first job, just about to get that first relationship."

Culvenor has been travelling the US over the past week to meet with the producers of similiar series. The genre is huge in the US, he says and “completely untapped in Australia”.

It is understood The East will be a reality show that is structured in a way that replicates a drama. While The East plans to draw inspiration from shows like The Hills, FremantleMedia is not replicating that format.

“It is high gloss, it is very dramatic but, at the end of the day, these are real people in real situations,” he says.

The series will proceed next year if it can attract the necessary network interest and a suitable budget. “I think it will happen. The networks have been pretty positive.”

Currently in casting, The East will most likely be a niche Australian program to begin with, says Culvenor.

“We are realistic about it, but when reality TV started out it was niche. Music television started as a niche. So, I think The East is the way to start with a genre and you can apply that genre to lots of different subcultures in Australia,” he says.

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