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Tacky Richmond Draws National TV Producers

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Then he discovered Richmond via a Web site set up by Matt Burgess, www.tackylighttour.com. "Richmond had all the elements that we were hoping for," Ollins says: a list of 70-plus addresses of twinkle-bulb obsessives and a wintry atmosphere, complete with a little snow on the ground when they filmed two weeks before Christmas.

The show centers on the Phifer family, whom Ollins calls "the reigning kings of the Richmond scene," and their neighbors' efforts to outdo them.

"It takes a certain type of personality to do this type of thing," Ollins says. "You have to have a certain exhibitionist quality." He says many of the light zealots like to collect other things, such as Bobby Phifer's "hundreds upon hundreds" of antique traffic lights. They have "a real intense personality that makes them go full-out no matter what they do," he says.

The show will air on TLC around Christmastime 2006. — Melissa Scott Sinclair

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