JACKMAN — A California-based television group wanting to highlight America’s small towns landed on Jackman, population 800, after a recent road trip through Maine.

“Everywhere we went, people said you need to go to Jackman,” said Jodi Flynn, executive vice president for Cineflix Productions in Beverly Hills, Calif. “We were really struck by the passion people have for the town. They just seemed to love it, and it was a different life than most of America.”

The television production company, which produces shows for networks including A&E, Discovery and the National Geographic Channel, knew it wanted to create a show based on “Northern Exposure,” Flynn said. “Northern Exposure,” which ran from 1990 to 1995, was a CBS series about a New York doctor who is sent to practice in a fictional Alaskan town.

“We’re just getting going on it, but the idea was to explore life in great small towns in America. Maine certainly seemed like a place not represented on television,” Flynn said.

Town Manager Kathy Mac- Kenzie said the company visited the town in December to conduct some unofficial interviews with residents.

“We didn’t know they were coming at the Town Office. One of the selectmen just walked in and asked, ‘Who is that interviewing people down at the transfer station?’ ” she said. “They were just out and about.”

Fire Chief Bill Jarvis said he was interviewed by a casting producer for the company in February.

Jarvis, 52, runs his own forestry business and helps to moderate town meetings, in addition to serving as the fire chief. He said he was skeptical at first about the idea of a reality show in Jackman.

“I heard a few people talking about it and figured it was just gossip,” he said. “I think my first reaction was probably one a lot of people would have — we don’t need that. I thought of all the wacky shows out there.”

However, he said he agreed to an interview after researching the company and realizing they produce quality shows.

Cineflix produces “American Pickers” on the History Channel and “Property Brothers” on HGTV. It also produces other shows that run on Oxygen, TLC and Animal Planet.

“Everything is very well done. They don’t focus on making people look like backwards hicks,” Jarvis said.

 

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

rohm@mainetoday.com