Jillian Saunders can’t wait to watch season two of “Welcome to Myrtle Manor,” not only because she’s such a huge fan of the show, but because she might be in it.
When the Stevens Point, Wis., resident stopped by the set last week – tucked in the back of Patrick’s Mobile Home Park off Highway 15 in Myrtle Beach – during her honeymoon to Charleston, she was so excited to meet cast members from the show.
“This is better than my wedding day,” she said. Producers of the TLC “docu-drama” asked her to come back later that day for filming of the show’s second season, which is well underway at the park and other locations along the Grand Strand. The second season will air sometime in 2014.
Filming began in late June and is expected to run through Thanksgiving. The 10-episode series premiered in March and averaged about 1.1 million viewers a week in its first season.
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The show put the trailer park on the map, with at least 100 cars -- sometimes as many as 400 -- driving through the property daily with fans hoping to catch a glimpse of one of their favorites from the show or snag some “Myrtle Manor” merchandise from the park’s store.
“So many positives are coming out of this thing,” park owner and cast member Cecil Patrick said last week. “It’s just blessing after blessing after blessing, no matter what people think.”
Since before the show aired, some Myrtle Beach residents have expressed concerns about the way Myrtle Beach would be portrayed.
Common complaints heard around town have been that “Myrtle Manor” is scripted, makes Myrtle Beach look bad or that the show is just boring.
Many said they hoped the show would not get picked up for a second season, especially after three season one cast members were arrested in April.
Amanda Adams, 27, and Lindsay Colbert, 22, were arrested April 26 and 28, respectively, both on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. On the show, Colbert was evicted from “Myrtle Manor” and has not appeared in an episode since March 24.
A third cast member, Taylor J. Burt, 28, was charged April 27 with criminal sexual conduct with a minor under age 16. According to police, a 15-year-old girl and her mother told police April 26 that the girl had sexual relations with Burt.
Burt’s trailer appeared to be vacant on Wednesday. When contacted on Thursday, Burt said he still was affiliated with the show.
“I’m still very much so under contract with TLC,” he said. “Remember that different people have different storylines.”
Shannon Martin, spokeswoman for TLC, said she couldn’t release any information about the progress of the show.
Despite the negative reaction some have toward the show, “Myrtle Manor” has been popular with many.
The Patrick family opened a NASCAR-like merchandise trailer in April at the park to sell show souvenirs – that also are available for purchase online at www.myrtlemanor.com – once they began to see how many people were asking to buy items on site. Items for sale include T-shirts, hats, can coolers and “beer belts.”
“I’m told we’re in 90 stores on the Grand Strand,” Cecil Patrick said. “We’ve even found a store selling knock-offs.”
“Myrtle Manor” cast members recently learned they wouldn’t be the only reality TV stars on the Grand Strand.
CMT has entered a contract with the Burbank, Calif., production company that made “Jersey Shore” famous – 495 Productions – to film a reality show in Murrells Inlet, and Cecil Patrick said he wishes them the best.
“I read the comments on that article [on MyrtleBeachOnline.com] and it’s a lot of the same people complaining that complained about us,” he said. “It’s almost like they cut and paste it.”
He offered some words of encouragement to those involved with the show, “The Dirty South.”
“We understand what you’re going through,” he said. “This, too, will pass.”
Cecil Patrick said aside from the few people who won’t like the show no matter how it does, he feels most residents who were concerned about the image the show would portray have come around.
“It’s really nice to see the attitudes changing,” he said.
What should viewers expect from season two?
Filming has been “even more professional” than last year, Cecil’s wife Barbara Patrick said, adding that cast members are fined if they show up late for their call time.
“And it makes the cast better because of it,” Cecil Patrick said. “The crew is working harder this year to get it right.”
Cecil Patrick said he wants to make sure the show is family-friendly and he’s looking forward to the new episodes being profanity-free – something he said he had hoped would happen last season.
“He counted the bleeps in every show last season,” Barbara Patrick said.
Cecil Patrick said he has high hopes for the show’s second season.
“If you thought season one was great, then season two will be fantastic,” Cecil Patrick said.
The Sun News’ Janet Blackmon-Morgan contributed to this report.