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Fox to air 'Octomom' special

The two-hour show Aug. 19 promises 'incredible unseen footage.

August 11, 2009|Greg Braxton

The Octomom is finally ready for prime time.

Nadya Suleman, the single mother of 14 children, will be featured in a Fox special "Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage" that producers say will offer a "jaw-dropping" look into her chaotic life.

The special, which will air Aug. 19, was compiled from footage shot by RadarOnline.com, which has had full access to Suleman since last March, when she brought the first two of her octuplets home to her La Habra residence.

"The access they got is amazing," said Mike Darnell, Fox's head of alternative programming. "They basically lived with her for seven months." He said that when he saw a few minutes of raw footage, he instantly ordered the two-hour special.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, August 15, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Octomom: An article in Tuesday's Calendar section about a Fox television special revolving around "Octomom" Nadya Suleman said that she also would be participating in a BBC-produced reality show. BBC executives say they are not involved in any projects with Suleman.

Said Darnell, "It really shows the surrealness of what she's experiencing, right from the point of bringing the first two babies home to a 1,400-square-foot home. We're inside the car with her. It shows what her relationship is like with her parents, where there's an enormous amount of conflict. It's truly surreal. We see eight screaming children on a bed while six others are running around."

Executive producer Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Films & Television, which produced the project, said the special was more like a "documentary. There's no host, no narration. It's really from Nadya's point of view. It's her inner monologue. It's not like a reality show, it's a lot more inside her head."

Both executives said they anticipated that the special would be controversial and draw criticism from many who have blasted Suleman, accusing her for being ill-equipped for motherhood and obsessed with publicity.

"There will be public debate before, during and after the special," said Darnell. "But that's the history of Fox. Once in a while, we embrace edgy material, and Nadya is certainly compelling."

The agreement between Suleman and the filmmakers stipulates that she has no input or control over the footage. Said Darnell: "We can say she signed away the rights to whatever was shot."

Suleman could not be reached for comment.

Darnell added that "though we are not legally obligated," Fox and Pilgrim established a financial account for Suleman's kids "in the six figures."

Suleman is scheduled to participate in a BBC-produced reality show that will start filming next month.

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greg.braxton@latimes.com

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