Actress Marlee Matlin launches reality series on YouTube

Marlee Matlin had an idea for a reality show that she hoped would bring some insight into the lives and struggles of deaf people and how they cope. But while reality TV has brought us wife swappers, party girls, aging rock stars and dieting divas, apparently no one was ready for something that real.

So instead, the hearing-impaired actress who won an Academy Award as lead actress for her role in "Children of a Lesser God," took her show "My Deaf Family" to Google's YouTube.

"Deaf and hard of hearing people make up one of the largest minority groups," she said in an interview through her interpreter, Jack Jason, "and yet there has never been a show, a reality documentary series that features what life is like for them." Matlin financed the show, which tells the story of a family in Fremont, Calif. All the family members are deaf, except for the oldest son, Jared, and the youngest, Elijah. It is narrated by Jared.

Matlin shopped her pilot to network executives, who purported to "love it." But none would take the plunge.  "They didn't quite know if they could pull it off, or even how," Matlin said.

Refusing to give up, Matlin turned to the Internet, more specifically to YouTube, the world's default broadcaster of Web video.

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Actors, Internet TV, TV Shows


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