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‘Inside Vegas’ show won’t have the usual reality-TV shenanigans

Updated June 18, 2019 - 8:50 pm

It isn’t exactly Netflix using “House of Cards” to entice new viewers — back when people wanted to see Kevin Spacey in something other than prison — but the city of Las Vegas is turning to original programming in an attempt to promote its app.

The three-episode series “Inside Vegas,” a behind-the-scenes look at city government, debuts Thursday on GoVegas, where, among other things, residents can report odorous sewers.

You can fill in your own joke.

“Inside Vegas” isn’t a reality show in the traditional sense. Don’t expect to see, say, Michele Fiore saying catty things about Lois Tarkanian’s singing voice or Bob Coffin flinging a drink at Stavros Anthony. Mayor Carolyn Goodman almost certainly won’t be involved in any hair-pulling brawls.

It’s closer to a show about actual reality.

“I think we’re just trying to show really more of what it’s like to interact with the city,” says David Riggleman, the city’s communications director. “That’s what this is really all about.”

None of the three roughly 10-minute episodes was available to screen before Thursday’s debut. The whole thing is shrouded in the sort of secrecy usually reserved for episodes of the final season of “Game of Thrones.” But “Inside Vegas” sounds like the sort of thing that would feel right at home on KCLV, the city’s cable TV channel.

Starting July 1, that is where it also will be available, alongside meetings of the City Council and Planning Commission, as well as “Hello Mayor!” — the latter of which sounds like a wacky 1970s-style sitcom, isn’t, but really, really should be.

“One of the things that we often experience as city employees is that people see us as kind of nameless, faceless bureaucrats who are absolutely inflexible,” Riggleman says. “And I think what we’re trying to show is that, from the council level to the staff level, we’ve got a lot of really hardworking professionals who are trying to protect the community, but we want to be fair and reasonable in our approach.”

Each episode will seek to clarify a single issue — including short-term rental enforcement and a massage parlor suspected of prostitution — by following it over the course of several city commission meetings that might have spanned weeks or even months.

Not exactly the froth that viewers have come to expect from reality TV.

“What we’ve tried to do is boil all of that down into a short synopsis of how it was resolved,” Riggleman says. “You’ll see the problem (and) what the city did to deal with it. You’ll hear from the principals in the community that were involved and then how it was resolved in the end.”

By debuting on GoVegas, the episodes will be available to the growing number of locals who only stream their content.

“We want to be able to move with the technology as it moves,” Riggleman explains, “and still provide programming where people want to watch it.”

For viewers who don’t want to watch it on their phones, GoVegas is available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku.

Riggleman says he’s pursuing more originals for the app to help differentiate it from KCLV programming.

“This is a way of telling our story in a way that’s a little bit different and maybe a little bit more engaging to the community.”

Just not as different or engaging as viewers might expect after having been saturated with the backstabbing and blurred-out nudity of standard reality TV.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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