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‘Katy Nation’ becomes reality TV series

'Katy Nation' becomes reality TV series

When "Katy Nation" hit the bookstands in January 2007, author Dexter Clay made the community excited with the anticipation of turning it into a movie.

Less than two years later, he is ready to put the words on the screen - at least on TV.

Clay is producing the pilot of "Katy Nation: Where Football Gets Real" and negotiating contract terms to air a weekly reality-based TV show.

"Katy Nation" executive producer Dexter Clay co-hosts a television series pilot with Los Angeles actress Jane Hajduk while FTLOC Productions director Tony Baker (right) rolls the film.

"We want to give an inside look at what it takes to be able to put two teams on the field on Fridays," Clay said. "We will present Katy as a single district and follow the team that goes to the playoffs.

"One of the things I'm disappointed with reality television is most of it lacks substance. We really want to get into the lives of the players, the coaches and the administrators and give the community a voice."

Each episode will highlight the games from the previous week and tell the stories of those involved.

Clay will co-host the show with Jane Hajduk, actress and wife of Home Improvement's Tim Allen. The two met on a Gatorade commercial about 15 years ago and kept in touch.

"Dexter wanted me to come down here and help him with this, and I said, 'OK, I'll do it,'" Hajduk said. "He had told me about it, but you can't even grasp the concept unless you actually came down here and saw it. I do love football and to see this kind of energy and all the stuff the high school is doing was just amazing.

"Now I'm down here for selfish reasons. This isn't charity. I believe in it so much. One of the closings we say is we can't wait until next week, and to think this starts all over again, you guys have something really special in Katy."

The show will also feature two additional segments. "You Got Favor" will star Thamer "T.K." Favor, who will educate the audience about the history of the Katy football program. "Ben's Friends" will star Ben Kresta, whose cheerleading friends will tell stories about the students at the schools.

Although Clay is working on an airing date and channel, Comcast representatives said they are giving him a 30-minute slot.

"We're getting pretty close," said Bill Drake, senior manager of engineering. "I think he wants to do it around the first of September, but we don't have an official date yet. We're always looking for different programs of interest to the community, and it looks like he has something."

For Clay, the chance to make a dream become a reality is something he cannot be more grateful for.

"It's a great opportunity for me to say thanks to the community," he said. "I don't think people realize the hard work it takes to make a movie and a TV series. In reality, you have to put it together like a team and you have to find the right players to make it work.

"The district has truly been a blessing to me because of the support. It took 2 1/2 years to get to this point, but it's happening now, and it's going to continue to grow and manifest itself."

High school football is a big deal in Katy, but few ever imagined its history would one day make it in the books, the TV set and possibly the big screen.

"The birth of 'Katy Nation' came from a friend inviting me to a playoff game in 2005," Clay said. "We walked in and saw 10,000 people in red and white, and I told him, 'This is a movie.'"

Although the friend jokingly suggested writing a book, Clay took his advice and "Katy Nation" hit the bookstands in January 2007.

"The book actually wrote itself," Clay said. "It was just getting the interviews and having the coaches, players and everyone else tell their stories. 'Katy Nation' is the spirit of Katy being presented to the rest of the world."

While the book concentrated on the Katy High School football program and its beginnings as a six-man team in 1939, Clay has big plans for future projects.

"One of the things you learn when you present yourself is you leave a lot of people out," Clay said. "The book paid homage to the beginning of the program. I purposely wanted to do Katy first and decided it was very important to come back and embrace the rest of the community. The next book will talk about the last 10 years and introduce the other five high schools."

For Clay, "Katy Nation" is three books, two movies and a television series.

"I will definitely feel complete when I'm sitting in the cinema and see the first book and second book on screen," he said. "Then I can say, 'OK, I'm ready to leave Katy' with a good feeling."

By Tracy Dang
Katy Times Managing Editor

0 Comments

  1. Carson at Only Katy

    September 22, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I would love to know if/when the pilot gets a deal. This would put Katy on the map.

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