Wanna interact with some local exotic dancers without needing a fistful of cash? Strip Search, the locally produced reality show focusing on a group of Valley ecdysiasts and adult entertainers, is screening its pilot episode tonight in Tempe and a number of its cast members will be present.
The viewing party, which will take place at Mill Avenue's School of Rock, will also serve as a kickoff to Strip Search's first season, which the show's producers told Jackalope Ranch will be available only online, at least for the moment.
According to Strip Search producer Fat Hendrick, episodes of the reality show will be available starting Wednesday via the website stripsearchtv.com. Segments and teasers from each episode will be viewable for free, while entire episodes can be purchased and downloaded for $1.99 each. (The program also will be available via iTunes.)
Hendrick says that producers chose to take the show online after they weren't able to broker a deal with any TV networks or studios to air Strip Search.
A casting call was held last summer at local venue Stratus (see the photos from the event) that was attended by hundreds of Valley strippers. A pilot episode of the reality show, which involves a dozen or so dancers living at a Phoenix mansion and hanging out at local nightclubs, was filmed in the weeks that followed.
Armed with the episode and other footage, Hendrick and others behind the scenes of the show traveled to Hollywood but "didn't find a deal to their liking."
"It's really risky taking the show online," Hendricks says. "But there wasn't a ton of [networks] that were willing to give us what we wanted to make the show happen."
There were some interested parties, he claims, but the Strip Search crew wasn't satisfied with what they were offering.
"Although we had people into the concept and who wanted to work with us, we would have to give up so much in order to get in on a network," he says. "We wouldn't be in control. And on this kind of show, it's easy to go the wrong direction with it. They could conceivably buy and shelve it for two years, or they could shelve it and never do anything with it. Or they kill the show after two episodes."
An online-only version of the show seemed a safer bet, Hendrick says, especially given the growing popularity of downloadable or streaming content.
"Online views are going through the roof these days," Hendrick says. "More and more people are watching content on their computers or iPads or smart phone instead of on TV. It's fast becoming more about time-shifting and on-demand programming."
Episodes of Strip Search currently are being shot and will be released each week.
"The show's actually happening as we're putting it out," Hendricks says.
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Many of the dancers who will be featured on the show, most of whom dance at Valley strip clubs, will at tonight's viewing party, including Hika, Maggie B., Erika, Cameron Lee, and Brittany.
Hendrick would give us only their stage names. Those in attendance at School of Rock who feel daring might have a better chance at getting them to divulge a little bit more about their backgrounds. Maybe.
The Strip Search Pilot Viewing Party takes place at 8 p.m. tonight at School of Rock in Tempe. Admission is free.