MTV targets online poker players for show

James Mackey
Could someone like online poker phenom James Mackey be the next MTV True Life star?

Are you an Average Joe in real life but a poker superstar online? MTV may want you for an episode of True Life.

Last week a poster called TrueLife posted a thread on 2+2 saying that MTV is looking for people who lead alternative lives online. While forum members were understandably skeptical, it was confirmed that the poster was legitimate.

"We're reaching out to a number of different online groups and cultures, and we thought it could be fascinating to profile someone who gambles online," said Ben Rosen in his posting as TrueLife.

Rosen and his company,, produce True Life for MTV. He has posted in several online forums, including those focused on online poker players.

"The key thing we're looking for is that our subject leads a life that is very distinct/unique/interesting when juxtaposed to his or her online gambling activities," he said in the posting.

True Life is a documentary series on MTV that tells the real-life stories of young people and the unusual subcultures they inhabit. The initial episode aired in 1998, and the show has featured, among others, people with Tourette's syndrome, gay marriage activists and protagonists dealing with pregnancy, debt and other issues.

According to the MTV Web site, the show tells its stories solely from the varied voices and points of view of its characters, putting the series in the unique position of reflecting the state of youth culture at any given moment.

"I anticipate some eye-rolling when folks see everybody's favorite whipping-boy network, MTV," Rosen said.

"The True Life series really does stand out from your typical MTV programming, as it is far less 'reality TV' and more objective documentary. The series is always told POV the characters we choose, so there is no editorializing or commenting-on that we engage in. The effort, simply, is to tell the subject's story in as objective a way as possible."

The series has won numerous journalism awards. It was nominated in 2000 and 2003 for a GLAAD Media Award. In 2005 it won a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Documentary category for its "I'm Gay and I'm Getting Married" episode.

In 2000 the series won an Image Award in the Outstanding News, Talk or Information Special category for the "I Am Driving While Black" episode. It also won a Prism Award for a TV Teen Series Episode or Special.

The show is looking for people for several different ideas, but the search for online gamblers is for an episode titled "I Live Another Life on the Web."

People who appear between the ages of 16 and 28 (yes; you read that right, "appear between") and who are interested in being a part of the show can e-mail their name, location, story, phone number and photo, if possible, to or

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