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'Bling ring' might take down 'Pretty Wild'

Alexis Neiers, one of the show's key figures, is heading to prison for a burglary at Orlando Bloom's home. An E! representative says no decision has been made on a second season.

May 22, 2010|By Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times

In the E! tabloid-esque reality series "Pretty Wild," viewers have watched aspiring starlet Alexis Neiers go from fame-hungry to infamous. The show has mixed the 18-year-old's link to a string of celebrity burglaries alongside her showbiz ambitions, her wild night life and her inane squabbles with her sisters.

But Neiers' life is about to go from trying to hang out in bars to going behind bars. Starting June 24, she faces a six-month stint in county jail for her involvement in a burglary at the home of actor Orlando Bloom, a sentence that threatens to put the series on lockdown.

"I know up until this point, [E!] has been interested in following everything," said Neiers' attorney, Jeffrey K. Rubenstein. "Whether that will happen once she's released, I don't think anybody knows."

A network representative confirmed that no decision has been made on whether to embark on a second season of "Pretty Wild." This season's finale airs Sunday.

The network declined to make Neiers or her mother, Andrea, who also appears on the show, available to discuss the program's future.

E! greenlighted "Pretty Wild," which follows three aspiring starlet sisters — 20-year-old Tess Taylor, Alexis and 16-year-old Gabby Neiers — as they wrangle the fast lane in Los Angeles, last August after the robberies began but before Alexis Neiers became a suspect.

The show had just started filming when police arrested Neiers in connection with the "bling ring," a circle of half a dozen friends accused of burgling $3 million in art, designer apparel and other items from the homes of celebrities including Bloom, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan. And it has since chronicled her trial proceedings.

Sunday's finale will include footage from the May 10 appearance at which Neiers pleaded no contest to felony residential burglary and was sentenced to the jail term plus three years' probation, a two-year suspended sentence and an order to pay restitution to Bloom.

News linking the ring's involvement to the celebrity heists, which began in 2008, broke in October, and media — and public — interest escalated from there, translating into solid ratings for the E! reality series. "Pretty Wild" premiered in March; first-run airings have averaged 1.3 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co.

Asked if he had initially worried that Neiers' participation in the series would hurt her case, Neiers' attorney said: "Of course. But it was her way of earning money. If she was an airline pilot, I wouldn't have her stop flying. If an actor gets in trouble, they still do their things. It just so happened that the show decided to follow the criminal proceedings."

Neiers has kept a relatively low profile since receiving her sentence, breaking her silence only to the network that feeds her in an exclusive interview with E! News. And Rubenstein would like to keep it that way, saying that he's advised her not to do any more interviews about the case or anything else until she's served her time.

"I think people lose sight of the fact that Alexis is very young," Rubenstein said. "She's tried to present herself as sophisticated, but she's really a frightened little girl when it comes down to it. Others are pulling the strings. Really, she just stepped in it a little bit. She took a little step in a pretty big puddle, but she stepped in it nonetheless. She's at an interesting crossroads."

A crossroads he would prefer not be the subject of more camera lenses.

"I don't think anybody knows what the fate of the show is," he said. "As little attention as possible is always best."

yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

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