The drama behind Michael Lohan's TV pitch is shaping up to be better than any kind of reality-show smackdown.
A day after denying he was behind the YouTube-powered Michael Lohan Reality Project —a 10-minute look video of him praying, ministering to others, battling ex-wife Dina and discussing Lindsay's meltdowns—the elder Lohan is clarifying his remarks. This, after being called out by the clip's producer, who claims Lohan is having second thoughts because of scenes featuring Lindsay.
"It was shot as a documentary, documenting what I was doing for Teen Challenge [a youth-outreach ministry]. It's not a reality show at all, that's the truth," Michael Lohan said Wednesday.
The video came to light earlier this week, via a post on Perez Hilton's blog. Hilton potrayed Lohan's pitch as a counterpoint to Dina Lohan's own proposed reality projected. When contacted for comment Tuesday, Michael Lohan was adamant.
"No way," Michael Lohan told E! Online. "I am definitely not looking for my own reality show. That's Dina's thing, and I've got my own thing."
He went on to say the "tape was pirated from me and then spliced together to make it look like some show I was putting together."
Now, however, Lohan admits he collaborated with producer Burt Kearns.
The two struck a deal to work on a pitch for a talk show called The Lowdown back in 2004. But the project stalled when Lohan went to prison for assault, cocaine and DUI charges.
"And when I got out of jail [last March], I didn't have one bit of footage. When I got out of jail, they said they wanted to continue the program. I said I'm just interested in pursuing my ministry work. I told them, If you want to document that, then go ahead," Lohan said.
"That's the footage they got, and that's what they cut together with other stuff to make it look a certain way. But I didn't agree to anything being cut together and released to the media. They never asked me if they could do that."
While Kearns, the president of Frozen Pictures, claims he does indeed have a valid contract with Lohan to pitch the project, he doesn't disagree with Lohan's description of their collaboration.
"This is not a reality show like Dina's show. Not like The Simple Life. It's a documentary that follows Michael as he tries to rebuild his life, tries to rebuild other people through his ministry work and tries to rebuild his own family," Kearns said.
"Back when he came to us for a pitch in 2004, we told him, 'The Lowdown is a great idea, but you are the show,' " the filmmaker added. "And Michael really is a different man today—he is a changed person, I think his conversion is real. I don't think that kind of conversion can take place unless you've hit rock bottom, and he did at one time."
Apparently the sticking point is Lindsay.
Michael Lohan seems particularly agitated about scenes featuring his daughter, with whom he recently reconciled after a long estrangement.
"The shots of me talking about those terrible pictures of Lindsay, that was to show my honest reaction to what happened, what abusing drugs and alcohol can do to one person's life, and it was all for Teen Challenge," he says, adding that he's called his daughter to explain he was no longer pursuing the project.
"There is no shooting going on right now...And I promise, even if the show is picked up, I don't care, I'm not participating," he said.
Kearns also thinks the Lohans' troubled history is what's coloring Michael's recent comments.
"Michael Lohan is a little embarrassed by it. He's very afraid of going against Lindsay. He's worked very hard to stay on the right path with her. And so, unfortunately, Michael isn't telling the truth."
But Kearns disputes the elder Lohan's contention that the project was dead, saying the two were actively pitching it to networks as recently as September.
"It could be a great documentary," Kearns said. "And Michael knows that, and he agreed. He's been involved with this project all along, back in 2004 and into the present."
So far, no networks have snapped up the rights to the documentary. But with Kearns inisisting the two men still have a contract and Lohan talking about possible litigation, this reality showdown could become a long-playing hit, at least for the lawyers.