LAND O'LAKES — Stripped to swimsuits, they braved a frigid December day to jiggle body parts in front of cameras and sell themselves as the next Snooki from Jersey Shore. Once chosen, the four women and four men cast for the nude reality show The Nak'd Truth filmed a 6-minute demo in which they frolicked in the pool, cleaned bathrooms and tried to fry bacon in the buff.
All this they braved in hopes of gaining national exposure from the reality television show that would require them to live together for a month at clothing-optional Caliente Resort & Spa. Naked of course, but with private parts blurred to keep things suitable for network television.
It turned out to be all for naught.
Nearly two years after the 2010 casting call, the show has never aired on any mainstream network. Producers, once hot for media attention, ignore reporters' phone calls. Caliente marketing director Deb Bowen also has refused to answer emails and phone calls.
"Either they sold the rights to it or it just flopped," said Jennifer Fitzgerald, one of the cast members who was called "Jenny" on the credits. She said she and the three other women and four men spent three days at the resort, where they shared a three-bedroom house. They worked as bartenders, housekeepers or pool attendants. Fitzgerald was assigned to wax floors.
The demo shows two female cast members kissing in a tub and one man telling another he won't share a room with a gay man.
Two male cast members were given jobs as chamber maids.
"Is that throw up?" Wayd Dionne of Lakeland whined to a fellow cast member, Robert Smith of Palm Harbor.
Fitzgerald, 24, who now works at Sports & Field fitness center in Wesley Chapel, called the experience "a whirlwind of craziness."
"It was kind of like acting," she said, even though it was billed as "reality TV."
Those in the industry say the odds are overwhelmingly against getting a network to buy a show.
"If you've done your homework and you get in front of the right person who can buy it, that person can only buy 20 ideas in a season," Mark Cronin, founder of the Mindless Entertainment production company, said in an interview for videojug.com. "Of those 20 ideas, only a third of them is going to become a pilot. Of that third that's a pilot, of those seven pilots, only one of those is going to get on television."
To become one of their 20 purchases, he said, "they will probably listen to 200 pitches."
Pasco isn't the only area in west Florida that has been the site for a reality show over the past few years.
A reality pilot called House Cats held auditions at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in 2011, promised to help five women "unleash their inner tigress," according to the Naples Daily News.
It went nowhere.
Even though the Nak'd Truth suffered the same fate, Fitzgerald said she's glad she did the show.
"It was good people getting together, doing something totally out of the norm," said Fitzgerald, who keeps up with some of the other cast members on Facebook.
The show's creator, Harris Salomon of Atlantic Overseas Pictures Television, did not return messages left by the Tampa Bay Times. But he may not have given up on the idea yet: One published account shows he tried to create another version of the show in the United Kingdom.
"We plan to take eight Brits and literally strip them naked," he told the Daily Star in March 2011. "We want some seriously interesting Brits to make the line-up. The plan is to roll the show out across the world."
Researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.