Family of rescued teen sailor Abby Sunderland planning reality show
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/14/2010
Abby Sunderland might be facing the adventurous world of reality television when the 16-year-old returns from her failed attempt to circumnavigate the globe alone.
Sunderland's family has been filming Adventures in Sunderland, a new docu-reality series that will follow the young sailor's kin, her father Laurence Sunderland toldThe New York Post on Sunday.
Laurence said his family opened their Thousand Oaks, CA home to a film crew four months ago to begin filming the project.
"The show might be about family, it might be about Abigail's trip," he told The Post. "It's something that was shopped around."
Magnetic Entertainment, a Studio City, CA production company, is currently promoting the reality series -- as well as a documentary titled Abby's Journey -- on its website.
While it has yet to be sold to a network, Laurence is allegedly "broke" and inked a deal for the family to appear in the reality project, according to The Post.
Abby wouldn't be the only Sunderland featured in the reality series, as Laurence said it would also star her older brother Zac -- a prior holder of the record for youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe -- and their five siblings.
In addition, Laurence's wife is also pregnant with their eighth child.
"We thought it might be a good idea if it was encouraging to kids to get out there and do things," Laurence told The Post, explaining the show's concept.
Abby began her attempt to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in January. However it ran into major problems last week when she was stranded in the Indian Ocean after a storm rendered her Wild Eyes sailboat inoperable.
She was subsequently rescued by a French fishing vessel and it will take her roughly another week before she reaches land. The timing of Abby's journey has received some criticism, as it put her in the Indian Ocean in the middle of storm season.
Despite the attention Abby's aborted attempt has received, Laurence said the potential reality project was "the last thing" on his mind after the family learned she was stranded.
"I love my daughter dearly," he told The Post.
"I love the passion of sailing dearly, and this was about Abigail following her dream. She followed the criteria that I had set out, and met all the requirements to embark on this trip."
Laurence added the idea for Abby to make the journey began when she was 13.