Dr. Steve Perry in a promo for TV One’s “Save My Son”

*A new reality series from Powerhouse Productions and TV One follows a renowned educator as he tries to keep African American boys from heading down a path of destruction.

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“Save My Son,” premiering later this month, brings cameras into the lives of families struggling to keep their sons from succumbing to the social ills of the neighborhood.  The show is hosted by Dr. Steve Perry, a CNN education contributor known nationwide for sending 100% of the graduates from his Capital Preparatory Magnet School – in Hartford, Connecticut’s lowest performing district – to four-year colleges since its inception in 2004.

“When the people from Powerhouse Productions first approached me I said, ‘No, I don’t want to do a reality TV show. I really am a principal. I have no interest in doing any more television than I’ve already done. It only undermines my credibility in the building,” Dr. Perry told the TCA Press Tour in August.  “But they said, ‘No, no, no, we’re not going to do TV, we’re going to do something different, and change people’s real lives.’”

Each episode will profile a different young man and his delinquent behavior – from drug use to gang involvement to truancy to robbery. Cameras will follow Dr. Perry as works his intervention – visiting the young man’s community and giving viewers a peek into their daily lives.

“We’re going to go into the community and we’re going to make an impact,” said Dr. Perry. “We’re not just going to make an impact on that child, but we’re going to create a blueprint that’s going to change the lives of other people who are watching.”

Executive producers Rochelle Brown, Sonia Armstead, Dewanaki Hill, Dr. Steve Perry, Barry Hill Jr., and Derek Anderson speaks at the “Save My Son” discussion panel during the TVOne portion of the 2012 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 1, 2012 in Los Angeles

Serving as guest mentors during the season are former NBA stars Jalen Rose and Derek Anderson (pictured above), as well as “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard and TV personalities Steve Harvey and Iyanla Vanzant.

Already, the show has been asked to defend its use of athletes and celebrities as mentors, in lieu of other successful working professionals like doctors and lawyers.  As previously reported, Dr Perry says he’s trying to use whatever is necessary to reach young men – using the example of a teen named Bub who expressed an interest in boxing during one of the upcoming episodes. Listen here.

Derek Anderson

Below, Derek Anderson gives us his take on why young men idolize celebrities and athletes like himself over doctors, lawyers or teachers.

The one-hour series “Save My Son” will begin its eight-episode run on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. Watch a preview below.