NEW YORK – CBS seems to be quietly backing away from plans to air a reality version of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Though no decision has been made, the network's top executive told reporters that the network has not yet formally okayed the project, which has drawn howls of rage from groups representing rural communities.
CBS chief Les Moonves acknowledges that the notion of a show in which a family of country bumpkins would be moved to a mansion in Beverly Hills may have inadvertently insulted some viewers.
"The idea of the show was to question social mores," Moonves said. "If you remember the original Beverly Hillbillies, the biggest buffoon in it was the rich guy who lived next door, Mr. Drysdale."
CBS officials say no family has been signed for the show and there's no start date for production.
"It was not in any way, shape or form, or intent, to demean anybody," Moonves said. "It wasn't our intent to offend everybody. I'm sorry if we have."
Last week the Whitesburg, Ky.-based Center for Rural Strategies launched a media campaign to derail the show. It spent about $75,000 on ads in several newspapers, slamming the proposed reality show.
"We intend to lessen [CBS'] comfort zone and make them rethink this premise," said Dee Davis, president of the center.