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Reality TV can’t get enough of LV

Clark County museum director Mark Hall-Patton appears regularly on the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” which is broadcast in 130 countries and reaches as many as 20 million viewers weekly.

The show’s popularity has boosted attendance at the Clark County Museum and provided the county with thousands of dollars worth of free advertising on national and international television, Mr. Hall-Patton says.

Each time Mr. Hall-Patton is called to the shop for his expertise regarding aviation, military and American Indian pieces, among other areas, the production company makes a donation to the county.

But the real value of his participation is the free advertising.

“When you look at what it would cost, four to five minutes on the No. 1 show on cable, I’m on it on a weekly basis almost, or they’re repeating it incessantly,” Mr. Hall-Patton says. “There’s no way we could ever buy that kind of advertising. I’ve never tried to put a price tag on it.

“I have yet to know what I sound like in Croatian,” Mr. Hall-Patton says. “I get friend requests on Facebook from Israel. … That’s what they’re looking for, the next hook people are going to love.”

County Coroner Mike Murphy, whose office is the subject of a new documentary television show with Discovery Studios, says people are fascinated with Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps.

The County Commission approved a production deal in September with a promise that the county will get $5,000 per episode and the show won’t reveal personally identifiable characteristics of the deceased.

The coroner’s office will showcase medical examiners and technicians from crime scene to autopsy and the search for relatives. Filming is expected to start soon.

“There’s been interest expressed in knowing what we do and how we do it,” Mr. Murphy said. “It’s more about the process and not individual cases. … “Our employees work very hard, and a lot of people don’t know what they do. We can feature some of the amazing things they’re able to do in reference to coming to conclusions and identifying people.”

And Diana Alba, county clerk, is in preliminary talks with a production company interested in producing a show about the Las Vegas wedding industry, with a central focus on particular couples and how they get married. It’s the fourth production company to contact Ms. Alba in her two years as clerk.

“I want happy endings,” says Ms. Alba. “The 80-year-old high school sweethearts who reconnected and the guy being deployed to Iraq who gets married quickly so his bride will be on his insurance — they wanted to show interesting stories, not craziness. I liked that concept.”

So long as such productions don’t swamp municipal employees, causing big delays in customer service, cooperating with such ventures makes good sense. It doesn’t even matter whether they generate much direct revenue to city or county coffers, though compensation for people’s time is always nice.

Travelers aren’t likely to stumble upon Las Vegas as a place to water their stock en route to California, these days. They come here because of publicity, and plenty of it. So long as the attention focuses on what makes the town fun and unique, the more the better.

 

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