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Dueling and drooling sets the bar on ‘Redneck Island’

Using empirical research techniques to further the understanding of qualitative social science analytics using behavioral and linguistic models, the CMT network has unleashed upon us ... “Redneck Island.”

One simply cannot imagine a reason – other than intellectual curiosity into the spheres of human activity involving class mobility, interpersonal communication, sexual posturing and plain ol’ guzzlin’ beer from a funnel – for this, the third season of the reality series showcasing the strutting and staggering of two dozen young adults marooned at a Georgia lake mansion.

Along with “Party Down South,” another residential romp with a tailgate mentality, CMT presents to the nation what we in the South have always known – you ain’t having no fun unless you’re wearing nothin’ but your tattoos while whooping it up with the opposite sex and exploring the depths of the keg. It does for the region’s stereotypes what “Jersey Shore” did for the Garden State.

“Redneck Island” borrows six ambassadors from the Carolinas to represent us as part of its all-star Southern cast of 24, which gradually gets winnowed down as contestants fail in games like mud wrasslin’ and jumping from float to float in the lake. You know, that stuff that every Southerner is taught from birth.

Playing the foil to the prissy Southern belles recruited for the adventure is Shelby McConnell, a no-nonsense tomboy from Indian Land who says she was partying with friends when she heard about the show and applied for a spot while tipsy. She got it and had a blast.

In the first episode, she’s identified as trouble and marked for elimination by another contestant. McConnell has what you call a temper. This provides drama.

“I got the red hair for a reason,” says McConnell, 21, who graduated from Indian Land High School and works as a waitress at Brew’s Tavern. Her trip to Georgia for the show was the first time she’d ever been out of the Carolinas. “I’m very blunt. I don’t sugarcoat things. I’m not Willy Wonka.”

McConnell is not turned off by the term Redneck. To her it’s just what you call a person who grew up in the South and likes it here.

“I don’t think you have to go hunting or muddin’ or fishing. It’s sweet tea and grits,” she says.

Living in a house with two dozen people leads to conflicts, says McConnell, but she mostly got along with the others. “I did have one person cross me where I did get into an argument with someone.”

Mostly she was just amazed that after nights of partying, the women in the house would get up two hours early to put on their makeup. “When I start drinking, I don’t like to stop,” she says.

Other Carolina contestants include John Tart, a livestock judge from Goldsboro; Katie Taft, a restaurant manager from Boone; Bradley Turner, a forklift operator from Simpsonville, S.C.; Anthony Parigi, a party bus owner from Elkin; and Jeremy Morris, a vacation consultant from Myrtle Beach.

Besides the partying and possible romance, there was another incentive go to the island: the last contestant wins $100,000.

Media Movers

Leaving WSOC (Channel 9) in January is Kathryn Burcham, who is moving to the Fox affiliate in Boston, a Cox-owned sister station. Burcham has been with Channel 9 for three years. Joining Channel 9 in January will be Stephanie Maxwell, who will replace Peter Daut on Eyewitness News Daybreak to co-anchor with Allison Latos. Maxwell has been evening anchor at the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Miss., and worked in Greenville, S.C., and New Bern earlier. She is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill.

Ramona Holloway of “Matt and Ramona” on WLNK-FM (“Link” 107.9), will be departing from “Charlotte Today,” 10 a.m. weekdays on WCNC (Channel 36), after the first week in January. Holloway has co-anchored the show for two years with Colleen Odegaard. She will continue with her afternoon radio show. Michelle Boudin of WCNC has an article in the current People magazine profiling Kristan Seaford, the Matthews mother of five who lost her hands and feet to sepsis a year ago.

Darla Thomas, former program director and afternoon host on WLKO-FM (“Lake” 102.9), will be taking over as program director at WLNK-FM (“Link” 107.9) in January. Her first job will be to find a new midday host to replace Kelly McKay, departing in December after five years to run her own business. Ben Ingram, a Bank of America ecommerce technology worker from Tega Cay, won the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions last week for a $250,000 top prize.

Among local nominations for regional Emmy awards, which will be announced Jan. 31, are WSOC (Channel 9) and WCNC (Channel 36) for local newscast; Tori Duncan, Blair Miller and Wendy Robbins at WSOC for evening newscast; Erika Hammond, Blaine Clark, Melissa Martin, Keith Monday, Vicki Graf, Peter Daut, Latos , Brittany Dewey and Matthew Friend of WSOC for morning newscast; Dave Faherty, Andy Holt, and Corey Gensler of WSOC for breaking news for coverage of the Linville Gorge rescue; Paige Hansen of WSOC and Ben Thompson and Ken Shermer of WCNC for general assignment; Molly Grantham and David Spunt of WBTV (Channel 3) for continuing coverage; Spunt, Christine Nelson and Leighton Grant of WBTV for serious feature; Nelson and Grant for light feature; Stuart Watson of WCNC for investigative; Watson and John Gray of WCNC and Jamie Boll and Jeffrey Keene of WBTV for investigative series; Watson and Gray for specialty report, special and for enterprise; David Kernodle, Ed Scannell, A.J. Chodora and Eric Bishop of Time Warner Cable News for special; Chris Clark of WCNC for sportscast and sports feature;

Also, Alex Farmartino, Robert Reichley, Maxwell Brooke, Richard Brooke, Chris Duzan, Jeremy Williams, Cory Alexander and David Barringer of Raycom Sports for sports features; Barringer and Billy McCoy of Raycom and Randy Stephens, Craig Ritchie, Scott Snyder and Mike Miller of Fox Sports South for sports event; Farmartino, Grantham and Grant for documentary; Gray, Boudin , Robin Lipe and Kevin Ridley of WCNC, Steve Crump of WTVI (Channel 42), Beverly Penninger and Alyson Young of Naka Productions for historical documentary; Fred Story and others of UNC-TV for cultural feature; Matt Hammond of WCNC for arts; Jeffrey Rivenbark and Russ Hunsinger of WTVI and Story for magazine segment; Kevin Marlow, John Carter, Brian Stephenson and Nelson of WBTV’s “Carolina Camera” for magazine;

Also, Crump and Troy Bowlby of WBTV for public affairs; Peter Vacho, Riley Fields and Doug Bell of the Carolina Panthers for children’s program; Emma Raeburn of WSOC for public service campaign; Ron DeJoseph Jr., Josh Lucas, Craig Davenport, Nick Burrow and Brittani Edwards of WSOC and Williams, Richard Brooke, John Hairston and Boris Rogers of Raycom for promos; Jonathan Tressel of WCNC and Scott Linkous of WSOC for animation; Barringer, Williams, DeJoseph and Lucas for direction; Leighton Rolls of WBTV and Clark for editing; Story for composing; Lucas for photography; Ted Hand, Charles Hawkins and Jamie Walters of WSOC for technical achievement; and Crump, Davenport and DeJoseph for writing.

Retired Observer business columnist Doug Smith was named to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of North Carolina’s most prestigious civilian awards. Smith retired in 2009 after 43 years with the Observer. Among those interviewed on the next “Nova” (9 p.m. Wednesday, UNC-TV, SC ETV), an episode about Neil Armstrong titled “First Man on the Moon,” is Charlotte native Charlie Duke, who was raised in Lancaster, S.C., and in 1972 became the 10th man to walk on the moon.

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