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When Reality TV Comes a-Courtin'

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fl.), seated behind desk, is flanked by members of his staff who were featured in the 2006 Sundance Channel original series "The Hill." Lale Mamaux is standing on the left. (Courtesy of the Sundance Channel)

Are you a very important Washington power player? With a lively social life and a bit of emotional exhibitionism? And are you kind of hot?

Then there's probably a TV producer holding for you on line 2 at this very moment.

A handful of pitches for new reality-TV series have been floating around town, all seeking to capture the fabulous excitement of living in the nation's capital, at least as perceived by folks outside the Beltway.

The question is: Who on earth are they going to cast?

At least a couple of these shows are aiming to focus on your classic Washington insider types -- people with jobs in government and politics, "movers and shakers," according to one pitch. But the thing about those people? "I don't know if they'd want a camera following them," says Lale Mamaux, chief of staff for Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.).

Three years ago, Mamaux was one of the staffer stars of "The Hill," a cable series (Sundance Channel) that probed the work and personal lives in Rep. Robert Wexler's Capitol Hill office. It's the closest Congress has come to reality TV. The difference is that director Ivy Meeropol went for a true documentary effect (no hot tubs, no staged catfights), spending more than a year with the staff. Also, Wexler, a Florida Democrat, signed on to the project. Most D.C. bosses would be less inclined. And most earnest young Washingtonians are too fearful to risk their careers.

Another of the pitches circulating around D.C. could have more luck -- it's a call for fashion bloggers. Meanwhile, the one local reality TV series already in production, "Blonde Charity Mafia," seems to be getting a makeover, with producers giving a political twist to the saga of Georgetown junior socialites.

We always hoped Mamaux, a feisty yet glamorous presence on "The Hill," would get a spin-off -- but don't bother calling her, producers. "I don't think I'd want to do it again," she says. "But I'll definitely tune in."

By The Reliable Source  |  March 10, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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