City Desk

Creator Cagey About Fate of Marion Barry Reality Show

You just can't keep a good reality show down! Mayor for Life, the 2010 Real Housewives-style show about Marion Barry, never made it past its pilot episode, but it's improbably back in the news. WAMU reports that May 3rd Films and filmmaker Kirk Fraser, who produced the show, have received $12,000 from Barry's Council budget to produce a documentary about Ward 8.

Which brings us back to Mayor for Life, which deserved a better fate than it got. The show had a lot going for it—its setting, around the Bennett Report's allegations that Barry steered city money back to himself, provided natural dramatic tension —but it was never picked up by a network. If you haven't seen the pilot (embedded above), you're in for a treat.

Last month, I tried to find out whatever happened to the aborted show and the piles of no-doubt-delicious Council footage that were shot for it. Even if the show wouldn't air nationally, I wondered if any remaining episodes could be screened around town for the handful of people who would actually watch a reality show set at the Wilson Building. I heard back in an email from May 3rd Films' account.

"I'll just say, timing is everything," the studio wrote. "Don't count it out though...the DC city Council (sic) makes for great TV."

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  • Art

    Lol...looks like a little bit of reality and a lot of show. But, I s'pose that's par for the course in "reality" tv.

  • artista

    The video is no longer available for viewing. Thanks for the tease WCP!

  • Will Sommer


    My post seems to have caused some unwanted attention for the pilot. Here's a summary of the first few minutes, which I rewatched yesterday:

    -Set up for Marion Barry's problems (flashback to the Vista Hotel video)

    -Intro: Shots of Barry walking in the District while a song plays over with the lyrics "I've got problems, you've got problems, let's work it out." So appropos.

    -Michael Brown (in a sparkling suit) meets with Barry and Andre Johnson, his PR guy, who's concerned that Barry's involved in a personal services contract scandal because he has a personal services contract from Barry.

    -While Barry and Brown talk, a TV report (Fox 5, I think) comes on about the Bennett Report. What a coincidence!

    -Barry says Andre has "little man syndrome."