‘On the Road in America’: Can a Reality Travel Show Improve the Image of the U.S.?

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  02.02.07 | 1:16 PM ET

imageDon’t think “The Amazing Race.” Think Al Jazeera meets MTV. According to the New York Times that’s what “On the Road in America,” which “features a caravan of young, good-looking Arabs crisscrossing America on a mission to educate themselves and the people they encounter along the way,” resembles on first viewing. The 12-part series is the brainchild of Layalina Productions, which the Times describes as a nonprofit, nonpartisan group with an advisory panel featuring the likes of former President George H.W. Bush, Iraq Study Group co-chairman Lee Hamilton and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Jacques Steinberg writes in the Times:

Implicit in the series’s mission, if not spoken aloud, is a desire to correct whatever damage has been done to America’s standing in the Middle East by the Iraq war and the nearly four-year American military presence in that country. But the production, financed mostly through foundations and without government help, also seeks to counter the image of America often conveyed to the Arab world via Hollywood: that of an arrogant, self-absorbed, bellicose nation.

Noble thoughts, but it sounds like a lot to ask of a television show. (Official U.S. government marketing efforts haven’t been too well received, either.)

In the meantime, only viewers of the MBC, an Arab satellite TV network, can see the show. Some clips are online—the Times has posted an excerpt, and Layalina’s Web site features a preview—but the show won’t be broadcast in the U.S., though the producers have their eye out for a domestic distributor. 

Photo: Leon Shahabian, Layalina Productions.

2 Comments for ‘On the Road in America’: Can a Reality Travel Show Improve the Image of the U.S.?

MTR New York 03.23.07 | 2:46 PM ET

On Monday, April 30, 2007 at 6pm The Museum of Television & Radio in New York is hosting an event about “On the Road in America.” See two episodes and join members of the production team, including creator Jerome Gary, to find out more. Ambassador Richard Fairbanks, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Layalina Productions, Inc. will also be on the panel. Tickets: $10 with code MTR2007 at mtr.org

Kanjariya Chetankumar Mohanbhai 01.03.08 | 1:43 AM ET

hi i want join with you and working with your reality so i want to be come to with u and with your company i join and working with you my best with that i will be there in soon

Name: Kanjariay chetankumar Mohanbhai
  Address: 15, Laxmi narayan society Punjabi society b/h pavan chakki
road, Nadiad-387002     state:Gujarat     Country:India
  e mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 
  my age :22 birthdate:12 june 1985 help this poor boy please give me
job in America please

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