Siesta Key premieres on MTV

- SIESTA KEY (FOX 13) - Monday night, one of our local beaches made its reality TV debut. "Siesta Key" is now airing on MTV, chronicling the lives of some of its flashiest, wealthiest young residents.

The premiere came with plenty buzz, positive and negative. So far, reactions are mixed on whether or not it's an accurate portrayal of the "real" Siesta Key.

The trailer says, "Welcome to Siesta Key, our secret paradise... the island is small and our crew is tight... there's a lot of money and even more drama."

It's no secret. Siesta Key has long been known as America's #1 beach. Now, it takes on a whole new life with the premiere of the reality show. Think of it as the "Laguna Beach" of Florida: young people, big houses, expensive toys and their summertime highs and lows.

"I've definitely heard a lot about it," said Harold Hernandez of Siesta Key. "I don't know if I am too excited for it. A lot of it doesn't seem too realistic to like, what actual life on Siesta Key is."

Two scenes were shot at Siesta Key Oyster Bar. General Manager Stephanie Brown hopes the series showcases the great things about Sarasota County.

"Anything that brings tourism to Siesta Key I think can be a positive thing," Brown said. "Of course, we hope and hoped that it would be positive."

But, the buildup has had its fair share of negative reviews.

Local Louis Carey's video breakdown of what he calls "inaccuracies' in promos created a lot of buzz and got thousands of views online.

"I'm concerned that the show is going to portray 20-some-year-olds going partying, drinking, just doing stupid stuff, kind of like what Jersey Shore did, and I'm afraid that's going to bring those people here," Carey said.

There's even a Facebook group, "Boycott Siesta Key MTV." The creator, Ashli Midey of Texas, said she was heartbroken by the recent viral video of a shark being dragged by a group of local boaters. Once it came to light that cast member Alex Kompothecras is friends with at least one of the boaters, there were calls to pull the plug.

Another group planned to protest Monday night's premiere at Sarasota's Cinebistro. The showing was ultimately cancelled.

"This show is great. It's gonna showcase Sarasota, how beautiful it is," said Justin Fletcher.

Fletcher is looking at the bright side, hoping the extra attention will attract a new crowd to the sand.

"The truth is, there's a lot of people here with real lifestyles, real problems, it's just like any other town you come from," Fletcher said. "I think in the end, it will be a good thing. I think it will help diversify and give us more culture. It will help bring young people here, it'll help turn all that around."

The trailer ends with the words, "Siesta Key may look perfect but trust me, paradise is never what it seems."

The premiere was the first of ten episodes. Siesta Key airs Monday nights on MTV.

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