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Bad behavior beware: the ‘Supernanny’ is here

Cleveland family gets parenting advice – on national TV

POSTED: March 20, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Bad Behavior Beware

Watch as jib operator Ansel Nunez swings the camera around for footage of the home's front yard.

SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Jo Frost, star of the show "Supernanny," talks with the driver in between filming an upcoming episode Thursday at a Cleveland home.

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CLEVELAND — It’s an idyllic neighborhood, filled with neighbors who get together once a week for dinner. There’s even a sweet red barn at the foot of the street where horses and a donkey roam.

But inside one of the tidy Colonial-style homes, a family’s war has raged for too long, and they’ve brought in reinforcements.

Which is why, since this past weekend and for another week, Jo Frost and her “Supernanny” crew have descended upon this Cleveland neighborhood, hoping to straighten out the problems raging among parents Jason and Dawn Colier and their four children, ranging in age from 18 months to 13 years.

“It’s been tougher than we thought it would be,” said Dawn Colier, who has been living with cameramen roaming her house and generators, jib cameras and motor homes outside. “It’s been emotional, really, seeing you need to work on issues and get everything going in the same direction, and getting your kids to listen to you.”

It’s a problem faced by many parents, and that’s why the TV show “Supernanny,” which airs at 9 p.m. Fridays on ABC, is in the area to help sort this family out.

The whole process takes two weeks, Frost said during a break in taping on Thursday afternoon. The crew has set up a “video village” in the family’s garage, where monitors and an “interview room” can have easy access to power, and a few of the neighbors have gathered in golf carts to watch the daily action.

By the end of it all, there will be about 200 hours of footage for editors back in Los Angeles to go through before the episode will be ready to air. There is no air date yet, but Tommy Corriale, production manager for the show, said there is about a 2 1/2- to three-month lag time between taping and when the show finally airs.

For Frost, who has been spending long days with the family, it’s a very emotional process.

“This family, as a whole, is certainly not working on the same page,” she said of her work in Cleveland. “They have difference of opinion when it comes to raising their children. Their ideals are very different. There’s certainly unrealistic expectations there.”

And because the children have such a large age range, it’s also about teaching the parents about developmental stages.

The greater issue of communication, she said, is endemic to many American parents she sees while making the TV show. Frost has 20 years of nannying under her belt, touted as a modern Mary Poppins for her British accent and no-nonsense parenting advice.

“I think more (parents want) the case of this ideal picture of having 2.5 kids and the house and the American dream — and I say that as a British nanny working here — and no conversation in between,” Frost said. “So, this family has got a lot of work. I have skimmed the top right now, and I’m about to go headfirst.”

Neighbor Fran Gallant was one of a handful of neighbors who gathered at the foot of the Colier’s driveway during taping of some opening scenes on Thursday, and said they enjoy watching the action.

“It’s been very exciting,” said Gallant, who said she learned the idea of giving a child a “time out” from the TV show. “I’ve been looking out the window all week.”

Next-door neighbor Paula Pinter said the crew hasn’t been an issue, either.

“They’re very self-sufficient. They haven’t needed much from us,” she said. “A little power, a little water.”

But it’s all business for the crew and especially Frost, who admits to getting emotional during the time she spends with the family.

“The emotional process is part of the journey. That can’t be escaped,” she said. “It’s a very intense time they spend with me, but also it’s a transformation. To take them through that transition and transformation, there needs to be that release, and that’s always what you see when you watch the show.”



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