Producers Damian Sullivan and John Irwin have worked for two years with marine safety chief Kyle Lindo, researching and collecting footage for the show using a documentary-style approach.
City officials were shown a 10-minute promotional clip for the series. The majority of the TV series will be shot around the Huntington Beach Pier, Lifeguard towers 1 and 2, the lifeguards facilities, Main Street and other Huntington Beach locales.
"We have been to the beaches in Santa Monica and Venice, but none of them have the romance of Huntington Beach," Irwin said.
The series will be shot in the style of late '60s and '70s surfing films such as "Endless Summer" and "Big Wednesday," Irwin said.
"We kind of go where they [the characters] go," Irwin said. And that would mean getting up at the crack of dawn to follow the lifeguards and surfers, get wet and later dry off and fill up at the Sugar Shack or Crabby's Boat House restaurant.
Sullivan and Irwin are not interested in putting together another "vote-off-the-show" reality series like CBS' "Survivor" or "Lost," they said. "It's much more sophisticated, using a 'docusoap' genre approach," Sullivan said.
"A&E is not MTV, and that speaks volumes about our intentions," Sullivan said, trying to allay City Council members' fears that the city could be portrayed negatively on national TV.
Irwin Entertainment would pay $25,000 in damages to the city if a film segment is aired over the city's objections. Lindo, who will be part of the series, will receive a rough cut of the film for review as the city's representative.
"There really aren't any protections for the city," said Mayor Dave Sullivan, the lone dissenting vote on the council. "If something dangerous or damaging is shown, $25,000 is nothing for a bad show," he said.
Irwin Entertainment has agreed to show the city and its lifeguards in a complimentary fashion with the city reserving the right to pull the plug on objectionable material.
Community Services Director Jim Engle and Lindo also spoke to San Diego city officials, where a similar series was shot. San Diego approved a second season of the series and is now seeing the financial gains from it, Engle said.
The show would do wonders for the city, said Councilman Doug Hansen.
Added Councilman Keith Bohr: "There's no business like show business ? and there's no such thing as bad publicity."