First, dad Laurence Sunderland told the press that he had inked a deal for a reality television show based on his daughter’s attempt to become the youngest person to ever sail the globe alone. Hours later, the elder Sunderland suddenly recanted, claiming he’d pulled out of the arrangement a few weeks ago with Magnetic Entertainment, the production company filming Abby’s voyage, because he believed they wished the girl’s voyage would end in death so that they would have a better story.
Next, Abby blogged that she planned to write a book about her misadventure. This, in turn, led mom Marianne Sunderland to claim the family – which is more than $100,000 in debt — had no deals in place to cash in on their kid. “There is no reality TV show, there’s no documentary that’s going to be made, there’s no book deal,” she said.
However, the Australian press is reporting that young Abby had several cameras on the boat with her filming the action.
No doubt the Sunderland’s are going to next claim that they really, really wanted to make a keepsake home movie to commemorate the event.
Unlike clan Sunderland, producers at Magnetic Entertainment appear to have figured out there is nothing they can say to make themselves look better. They are refusing to return reporters emails and phone calls and are currently revamping their website, where they had previously posted of their plans to make both a documentary and reality show based on the teen’s stunt adventure.
Let’s stipulate a few things. First, you don’t just stumble into signing a contract to market your filmed adventures. Trust me on this one. If you did, my ten year old would be on TV right now. He’s cute and is convinced his adventures are worth chronicling.
Second, the Sunderland’s were either trying to sell the rights to report on their daughter’s voyage or they were chatting with bankruptcy attorneys. Between last year’s successful world navigating voyage of Abby’s older brother Zac and this aborted trip, they had run up some serious bills. No one has yet to come forward saying they routinely saw Laurence or Marianne Sunderland buying Mega Millions lottery tickets at their local convenience store.
Third, if the Australian and French responders who rescued Sunderland after her boat was fatally damage in a storm in the Indian Ocean last week thought to also salvage the cameras, the Australian government should get first dibs on any bucks made from the sale of said footage. The Daily Beast is estimating it cost authorities more than $1 million to save Abby from her otherwise dismal fate.
Fourth, it defies common sense that a random family in Southern California experiencing severe financial problems just happened to have not one but two unbelievably brave and together teens who independently decided it was their life’s goal to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by boat alone. Someone put them up to it, and the likeliest suspects are the same ones that did or didn’t sign a reality show deal based on the children’s exploits.
So what about you? Can you come up with any excuse for this family, any explanation for what this story is about if not an attempt to gain fame and fortune via reality TV? If yes, please share it. We all love a good story – as the Sunderland’s, alas, have figured out.