MTV GOES BEYOND THE BEACH: MTV has given the go-ahead to “The Hills,” a spin-off of the popular reality drama series “Laguna Beach.” “The Hills” will focus on the “Laguna” character Lauren “L.C.” Conrad; her new life in L.A., including her Teen Vogue internship, and her studies at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising there. The series was developed by Adam DiVello, who will serve as an executive producer with Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, the creator of “Laguna Beach.”
“It lets us continue to follow one of the characters as she moves on to her adult life,” DiSanto said. “Essentially, it almost picks up where ‘Laguna’ would end. She packs up and leaves town and makes her way to L.A.”
As reported in August, MTV cameras were spotted filming Conrad over the summer in Condé Nast’s L.A. offices, where she has been interning under Lisa Love, Vogue and Teen Vogue’s West Coast editor. (Teen Vogue, Vogue and WWD are all part of Condé Nast Publications.)
“[L.C.] is a big fan of the magazine,” said Teen Vogue editor in chief Amy Astley. “She pursued [the internship] on her own, and MTV asked if they could follow her.” DiSanto said the pilot shows Conrad interviewing for the job at Teen Vogue.
Unlike Atoosa Rubenstein, Seventeen’s editor in chief, who serves as an executive producer on her magazine’s MTV show, “Miss Seventeen,” Astley will not have any creative control over the content of “The Hills.” She and other Teen Vogue editors will, however, be making occasional appearances in episodes.
“Sometimes, there’s a risk allowing cameras coming into your workplace,” Astley said. “But ‘Laguna Beach’ is one of the most popular shows on TV, and it’s very popular with our readers … [This team] makes great shows, and I trust them.”
DiSanto said the look of the new series will be slightly different than “Laguna,” which has many outdoor — make that sunset hot tub — scenes. “The shooting style matches what’s going on,” said DiSanto. “[‘The Hills’ has] more sterile environments, so the shooting style is a little more classical.” Like “Laguna,” “The Hills” will have a narrative feel, and there will be no confessional moments with characters turning to face the camera.
Asked what Conrad has been doing for Teen Vogue, Astley said, “Faxing, filing, errands, boxing up clothing and returning it. All the things a typical intern does.” Pausing, of course, for the occasional hair and makeup touch-ups.
The pilot of “The Hills” is expected to air sometime in the second quarter of 2006. Shooting for the rest of the season will begin in the next two to three weeks.
— Sara James
END OF INDEX?: Artist Peter Halley‘s downtown indie magazine Index may be shutting down, according to three people close to the publication. A staff member declined to comment when called, e-mails went unanswered and Halley, who teaches at Yale, was said to be traveling Friday and unavailable. He started the culture magazine in 1996 and still serves as its publisher and creative director. The penultimate issue of the bimonthly is evidently at the printing press and will hit newsstands next week. One source said a final issue could follow in February to mark the magazine’s 10th anniversary. Index has been said to bear a resemblance to the early issues of Interview, and is filled mostly with Q&As between outside-the-mainstream actors, writers, artists and musicians. In recent months, a skeleton crew has apparently been putting out issues. On the Web site, indexmagazine.com, Ella Christopherson and Rebecca Weiner are listed as editor and managing editor, respectively. They were previously interns at the magazine.