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Shahs of Sunset puts young Iranians on U.S. TV map

Date January 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California's vibrant Iranian-American community is getting its own reality TV show -- its stars spending, squabbling and showing off in what looks like a cross between the gossipy "Real Housewives" series and splashy "Keeping up with the Kardashians".

"Shahs of Sunset", premiering on cable TV channel Bravo on March 11, follows six "passionate socialites" in their 30s who try to juggle their careers and social lives with family and tradition, Bravo said on Monday.

Four of those taking part in the show work in real estate in Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Hills and other pricey areas of Los Angeles. Most enjoy a lavish lifestyle where expensive cars, huge mansions, gold jewelry and shopping are a must, judging by a short promotional trailer for the new series.

Among the cast is one of the few openly gay men in southern California's Iranian-American community, Bravo said.

The series is thought to be one of the first on U.S. TV to document the lives of young Persians whose parents fled Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, or who settled in California as young children.

An estimated 500,000 Iranian-Americans live in the Los Angeles area -- the largest Persian community outside Tehran -- and some 20 percent of the population of Beverly Hills are of Iranian descent.

"From outings on Rodeo Drive to traditional Persian feasts at home, this series celebrates the unique lifestyle of a group of friends who have worked hard for what they have and are not afraid to flaunt it," Bravo said.

"Shah's of Sunset" is produced by Ryan Seacrest, host of "American Idol" and the producer of the popular "Keeping up with the Kardashians", about Armenian-American socialite sisters Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, and its spinoff series.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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