Ryan and Tatum O’Neal Pitching Reality Series

Ryan and Tatum O'Neal are pitching a reality show based on their long-troubled relationship.  (Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images)

Ryan and Tatum O'Neal are pitching a reality show based on their long-troubled relationship. (Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images)

For much of her life, Oscar-winning actress Tatum O’Neal has battled demons, including drug addiction. But none of her problems have been as painful or destructive as her tumultuous relationship with her father, actor Ryan O’Neal.

“The more love I craved, the more distant and abusive he grew,” she once said. “The role I longed to play was never written into Ryan’s script: daughter.”

She also said: “Things with my dad were pretty good until I won an Academy Award. He was really loving to me until I got more attention than he did. Then he hated me.”

Now, almost incredibly, the two are sharing a house in Malibu and pitching a reality show that would focus on their efforts to repair their relationship once and forever. According to Daily Variety, the two were moved to try a rapprochement following the death of Farrah Fawcett last year. The proposed series will “follow the two as they go on auditions, take acting lessons, explore their dating lives, head to family gatherings and meet for therapy sessions.”

There’s a lot to work out – and it’s just the kind of stuff that could make for a riveting, classic, if not enlightening and long-running television series.

The elder O’Neal has a long history of poor parenting and last year described his child-rearing skills to Vanity Fair as “hopeless.”

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In 2007, he was arrested in connection with an assault on his son, Griffin. A year later, he was arrested on drug charges with his son, Redmond.

Tatum, divorced from tennis star John McEnroe and the mother of three, was also busted in 2008 for drug possession.

And the two were the subject of a weird situation at Fawcett’s funeral when Ryan reportedly hit on his daughter.

Here’s what Vanity Fair‘s Leslie Bennetts reported:

“I had just put the casket in the hearse and I was watching it drive away when a beautiful blonde woman comes up and embraces me,” Ryan told me. “I said to her, ‘You have a drink on you? You have a car?’ She said, ‘Daddy, it’s me–Tatum!’ I was just trying to be funny with a strange Swedish woman, and it’s my daughter. It’s so sick.”

“That’s our relationship in a nutshell,” Tatum said when I asked her about it. “You make of it what you will.” She sighed. “It had been a few years since we’d seen each other, and he was always a ladies’ man, a bon vivant.”

According to reports, both are determined to make their repair old wounds and make their relationship work – and if that happens, or if they even make a serious attempt, their show would have especially strong potential of ranking up among the best of reality’s family sagas.

What do you think? Would you watch?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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