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Teen Sailor's Dad Had Reality Show Deal: Report

Laurence Sunderland and son Zac

Laurence Sunderland and  Zac talk to reporters outside their home, Saturday, June 12, 2010, in Thousand Oaks, Calif.  Mark J. Terrill/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Mark J. Terrill/AP

Update at 4:13 pm ET — The New York Post reported earlier Monday that Laurence Sunderland had confirmed the existence of a planned TV reality show based on his adventurous kids, including his daughter Abby who just rescued from her sailboat on the Indian Ocean.

But the Associated Press reports that a Sunderland family spokesman says the family has "no current plans for a reality TV show."

An AP excerpt:

Jeff Casher says he spoke with Abby Sunderland's father Mondaymorning and Laurence Sunderland says such a show was discussed lastyear when her brother Zac sailed around the world, but it nevercame about.Jeff Casher says he spoke with Abby Sunderland's father Mondaymorning and Laurence Sunderland says such a show was discussed lastyear when her brother Zac sailed around the world, but it nevercame about.

—— original story below ———

A troubling revelation on the Abby Sunderland front, the Southern California teen recently rescued from her stricken sailboat in the Indian Ocean after her failed attempt to become the youngest person to solo-sail around the world.

The NY Post reported Monday that the teen sailor's father, Laurence Sunderland, had a TV reality show deal that would feature his "daredevil kids."

A lot of people may wind up feeling used because of this, not the least of whom may be the Australian government and others who participated in her rescue.

An excerpt from the NYP:

The father of teen sailor Abby Sunderland told The Post yesterday that he's broke and had signed a contract to do a reality show, "Adventures in Sunderland," about his family of daredevil kids weeks after she set off on her doomed and dangerous solo sail around the globe.

Laurence Sunderland, a sailing instructor who lives in the middle-class Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks with his pregnant wife and seven kids, opened their home to film crews four months ago.

"The show might be about family, it might be about Abigail's trip. It's something that was shopped around," he said.

There's something about this that's reminiscent of Balloon Boy. True, in this case the kid was actually on the craft. And the reality show deal apparently came after the girl had already set off on her adventure.

But the news that a reality show is involved and the father's claim that he's "broke" will, fairly or not, cause many to wonder if the possibility of TV money and fame helped drive the parents' controversial decision to allow her to attempt to solo sail around the world.

And those suspicions are likely to persist even though the father says Abby has wanted to do the solo circumnavigation since she was 13.

As you'll recall, Abby's brother Zac set the record for the youngest person to do a solo sail when he was 17, so he would presumably be the other daredevil child.

If you are mourning the loss of the world before reality TV shows, you're not alone.

You can read more about the Sunderland reality show on the Magnetic Entertainment web site.

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