Wednesday, October 22, 2003

4 days in another's shoes

Ky. teen star of reality TV show

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Kyle Brock and his sister Olivia.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
BURLINGTON - Kyle Brock says he likes "doing stuff that's not ordinary."

But switching lives with someone 2,200 miles away? Someone you've never met?

The 17-year-old Conner High School senior traded places with Jamie Morrison, 16, of Glendale, Calif., after being chosen to star in the ABC Family TV show Switched!

The 30-minute teen reality show was taped in Burlington and Glendale Sept. 18-21 and is scheduled to air Monday at 5 p.m.

Each episode involves two people who don't know each other switching lifestyles for four days. They swap families, friends and homes while TV crews tape their adventures.

The big Switched! fan in the Brock family is actually Kyle's 13-year-old sister, Olivia. She asked her mom, Rita, to find out if the show would take her, even though she's a year younger than the show's minimum age requirement.

"I sent an e-mail at the end of August and told them if she's too young, we have a 17-year-old," said Rita Brock. "They called me an hour later and said they wanted a tape from Kyle tomorrow."

Though her big brother had only seen the show once, Olivia said, she talked Kyle into doing it. He made a short video introducing himself and sent it in, along with a 16-page application.

A week later, they told him he'd been chosen.

On Sept. 18, Hollywood came to Boone County. The four-person crew started taping at Kyle's house and followed him to school. It was at school when they told him he'd be going to California.

He left that afternoon to live with the Morrisons.

Kyle stayed with Jamie's dad and grandma. "His grandma was like 90 years old and hilarious. His dad was kind of like me - really sarcastic."

Jamie says thoughts of hillbillies and other Kentucky stereotypes occupied his mind on the flight here.

"I'd never been to Kentucky or even close to it," said Jamie. "I was afraid of what it would be like, but my opinions changed right away when I saw the countryside and nice houses."

During the four days, Kyle and Jamie hung out with each others' friends and families. Olivia said she and Jamie got along well, but getting accustomed to a camera crew around all day took some time. "It took 20 minutes just to get in the car," said Olivia. "They had to shoot it from all different angles and do a bunch of takes. It was annoying at first, but we got used to it."

The boys challenged each other to see if they could adapt to their new lifestyles. Jamie's challenge to Kyle was to play on Jamie's water polo team and score a goal.

"I scored a bunch of goals, but they said I'd be much better if I could swim," said Kyle. "They practiced by putting five-gallon jugs on their heads and treading water. I did it and went right under."

Kyle challenged Jamie to read the school announcements during his media class and put together a music video, something Kyle does regularly and airs on cable television.

"I'd certainly never done any of that before," said Jamie. "But it all actually came out pretty good. I really got into it."

For Jamie, who was treated to Graeter's ice cream, Gold Star Chili, and the first hayride and roasted marshmallow of his life, it was tough going back home.

"I live in a crowded town with a crowded school with city lights and a lot of cars, while Kentucky is open land and spacious," he said.

Kyle and Jamie met each other at the end of the final day of taping, when Jamie flew back to California.

They realized that despite the differences in their lives, they have a lot in common. So much so, that Jamie plans to return to Kentucky for Kyle's graduation in the spring. After that, Kyle will fly to Jamie's house for a couple of weeks.

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