Last June, 117 women - about 85 per cent of Hardisty's female population - were whisked away on buses sans cellphones to set the stage for a 10-part Canadian reality series. Their destination? A luxurious week last June at a Canmore resort in the Rocky Mountains. They left their husbands, fiancés and boyfriends behind to fend for themselves and care for their children.
Hardisty accepted its role in hopes of gaining a bit of marketing exposure. Replete with farmland, essential services, a recreational lake and nine-hole golf course, Hardisty has lots for sale at $1 per square foot (prices negotiable by town council) and is keen for new residential, industrial and commercial development, officials say.
CBC said The Week the Women Went attracted an encouraging 770,000 viewers, comparable to Royal Canadian Air Farce, but not quite in the same league as Hockey Night in Canada, which gets more than one million viewers on average.
"All of a sudden we're not a small little community nobody knows about," Mr. Kulbisky said. "Everybody in Canada and beyond knows about us."
As reality tv matures and participants get more savvy as to what they can get out of it, the nature will change, bringing it closer to the participatory experience audiences are requiring from all avenues of entertainment.