MILFORD, Mass. – The Town of Milford will be seen in TV sets across America and in other parts of the world on Thursday night.
At 10 p.m. on A&E, the documentary series "Beyond Scared Straight" will include segments that were shot in Milford. Paul Coyne, the executive producer of the series about troubled teens, is a Milford High School graduate of 1982, and he said it was very exciting to finally shoot in his hometown.
“We’re in the series’ fourth season, and for years I wanted to go back to the town I love so much and shoot there,” Coyne said. “I’m so thrilled that I was finally able to do it.
“I’m always talking about Milford with the crew, telling them how Milford Town Hall is the most beautiful one in the world, and now people will get to see town hall and other parts of the town on the series,” he added.
Coyne, 48, attended Fitchburg State University before moving out to Los Angeles and getting involved with filmmaking in the early 1990s. The Milford native has been an editor for several popular TV shows, including "Big Brother," "The Amazing Race," "The Bachelor," "Survivor" and "Hell’s Kitchen," and he’s been a producer for numerous shows, such as "If You Really Knew Me" and "Beyond Scared Straight."
In "Beyond Scared Straight," a reality series, Coyne takes teens who are “going down the wrong path, with gangs, drugs, shoplifting, and we show them what life is like in prison,” he said. “It’s an attempt to get people on the way to a better life by showing the troubled youths what their possible future can be like.”
In this week’s episode, Coyne originally placed Boston teens in the episode, which was shot in a Boston jail, but the teens backed out at the last minute. As a result, he turned to Milford High School Principal Michael Tempesta, who Coyne graduated with, and asked for a student who could benefit from going behind bars.
“And so we shot scenes around Milford - of the high school, town hall, statues, the ‘Welcome to Milford’ granite sign,” Coyne said. “It’s great because I’m making TV for the people in Milford. I always get a lot of emails from people I graduated with, so it was amazing to be finally filming back home.”
Coyne said the series is difficult to put together since it’s unpredictable on whether the teens will show up, but it’s very rewarding, he said.
“At this point, we’ve featured 300 kids and about 80 percent have turned their lives around,” Coyne said. “It’s great to know that I’m actually helping kids in the series and viewers across the country.”
He said the series is one of the most honest reality series on TV. Coyne tells the inmates and deputies to “just be themselves, and whatever they do is their decision. The inmates and deputies get up in the teens’ faces, and then the teens completely forget that we’re shooting, and we get some very honest television.”
Every episode has different teens in a different jail, but it has the same idea – showing troubled youth what jail is like. And when the filming crew goes into a new town, the crew hires a local person to help them get around. Since the crew came to Milford, Coyne hired his mother, Claire Carignan Coyne.
“She got her name in the credits, which is pretty exciting for her,” Coyne said. “It was just really great coming home.”