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August 16, 2012

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The city loves to promote Chattanooga’s frequent starring role in the national media and when it is featured on TV and in the movies. But when it comes to using the name Chattanooga in the title of a reality TV series titled “Chattanoogaville”—and when that series is tied to Tea Party-style conservatism in small-town America—city officials and boosters become a little uncomfortable.

Last week, the show’s producer, Melanie Tipton, a native Chattanoogan, announced the series would begin shooting in September. Some exteriors will be shot around Chattanooga, but the name is fictional, claims Tipton, adding that the show will focus on conservative beliefs across the country.

Nevertheless, the announcement set off a backlash on Facebook when news of the show appeared at the same time as a popular video featuring the city began circulating. But Tipton wrote on the Times Free Press’ Facebook page that, “We are not going to take video shots of Chattanooga and make the town look like hillbillies. I was born and raised in Chattanooga and I’m proud of the city and we will never make this wonderful place look bad.”

Others, however, find the name and the show insulting and urged the city to take legal action to protect the city’s name. On Friday, Richard Beeland, spokesperson for Mayor Ron Littlefield, told the TFP that the city does not plan to fight the show or stop it from trademarking the name “Chattanoogaville,” remarking, “I don’t think it’s worth putting that much time in.”

Indeed, the series has neither a distribution deal nor a network, so all the ado may be about little or nothing at all. Still, Tipton clearly got a chuckle out of rankling Littlefield. “We all laughed at his statement,” Tipton told the TFP. “As we all know ... the Chattanooga Tea Party and a couple more political organizations are the ones responsible for the recall to remove Littlefield out of office.” —B.R.

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August 16, 2012

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