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W.Va. miners: 'Coal' is the real deal

A southern West Virginia mine foreman featured in the new reality TV series “Coal” says the show that debuts Wednesday lives up to its billing: It’s all real.

“There’s nothing on this show fake. What’s on it, we done it,” says Jerry “Wildman” Edwards, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Edwards attended a recent preview screening of the Spike TV series in Morgantown, W.Va., and talked about what it was like to participate. He says he didn’t allow his men to do anything unsafe or inappropriate for the benefit of the cameras.

The 10-episode series was shot at Cobalt Coal’s Westchester mine in McDowell County. Mike Crowder, Cobalt Coal’s chief executive, told West Virginia Public Broadcasting it shows the men as they really are.

“Some of us read the Bible, some of us cuss like sailors,” Mr. Crowder says. “It is what it is. We are a coal company. We are not actors, we are not entertainers.”

Cobalt is not a typical West Virginia operation. It’s small, with only about two dozen employees. The men mine a highly valuable metallurgical coal used in steelmaking, but the seam is notoriously thin, forcing them to work in a space just 42 inches high some 600 feet underground.

The first episode focuses on how the men respond to the financial pressures facing the company.

“Our whole idea was to let everyone see that these guys are dads, and they’re husbands, and they work hard,” says Tom Roberts, the coal company’s president. “They’re just everyday people.”

Producer Thom Beers and his team are also behind the popular shows “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers” and “Ax Men,” all about inherently dangerous occupations.

Rob Lowe says Sheen shines as party animal

Rob Lowe gives fellow Brat Packer Charlie Sheen a slight edge when it comes to partying, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lowe tells Vanity Fair that in past days, he and Mr. Sheen “competed to see who could play harder, then show up for work.”

Mr. Lowe recently finished writing his autobiography and shared excerpts with the magazine. He calls Mr. Sheen “a wonderful mix of nerd and rebel” and speaks of the days when the two were relatively unknown actors who plotted their careers in Mr. Sheen’s pool.

The May issue of Vanity Fair will be on newsstands across the nation Tuesday.

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