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County to get taste of British reality TV

(ran South edition)

American reality television, this isn't. There's no zillion-dollar prize for overcoming challenges or arbitrarily picking something correctly.

In the British television series A Place in the Sun, the chosen participants tour several homes "in an exotic overseas location" that meet their listed criteria. A film crew follows them as they explore their potential new abodes.

The kicker: If they like any of the houses they're shown, they are more than free to buy one.

"Florida is really, really popular with British people. And the show is really popular with British people, especially the Florida shows," said assistant producer Alice Bowden, who has toured 40 to 50 homes in the Tampa Bay area during the past two weeks.

Next week, the show, which reaches more than 2-million viewers in the United Kingdom, makes a stop in Zephyrhills.

The participants are "Ron and Lucy," a young couple with two children. They have a budget of $350,000. Now living in Hampshire, England, they like Tampa for the sunshine, the lifestyle, the absence of a state income tax. They want to live within 45 minutes of the city.

So the show's producers are set to show the couple six homes across Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. In Zephyrhills, they will see a house in the Silver Oaks neighborhood, a lovely place overlooking the golf course, Bowden said.

Then after five days of filming, the show packs up and heads back across the ocean. The episode will air in February or March. Channel 4 carries it in the United Kingdom, but Bowden isn't sure if viewers can see it in the United States.

If the couple decide to buy in the Tampa Bay area, it's all caught on camera.

"We film them at the end sitting down and talking about which houses they like," Bowden said. "It's entirely up to them."

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