Biker brawl may knock out A&E reality project

Reuters/August 8, 2008

Los Angeles (Hollywood Reporter) - A&E prides itself on its gritty, street-level reality shows. Now, the cable channel has gotten involved with an outfit that might be too hardcore even for the home of "Intervention" and "Dog the Bounty Hunter."

The network recently shot a pilot for a new series with the controversial Christian motorcycle gang Set Free Soldiers, a group whose leader was arrested in Orange County Wednesday, along with six members, on suspicion of attempted murder.

The arrests stem from a July 27 double stabbing that occurred during a barfight in Newport Beach between the Anaheim-based group and members of the Hells Angels. The bikers were rounded up during a series of raids by SWAT teams and federal drug enforcement agents.

An A&E spokesperson said the pilot, with the working title of "Saints and Sinners," was shot a couple months ago and that the network doesn't believe that any of the bikers involved in the show were among those who were arrested.

Sources said "Saints" centers around a SFS halfway house where bikers reform alcoholics and drug addicts. A&E had hoped the project would make a proper companion for tough-love shows such as "Intervention" and "Dog."

The Los Angeles Times reported that the gang is described on its now-defunct Web site as "a group of men who love Jesus and love to ride hard."

Though no decision has been made on the show, it seems unlikely that A&E will proceed with the project, especially since members of the "Dog" cast have been plagued with legal issues that have drawn negative publicity to that show.

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