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Reality Show to Highlight 'Wall Street Exodus'

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Chad Petterson knows what it’s like to live high on the hog. He’s also aware of how it feels when the good times stop rolling.

Now Petterson, a former venture capitalist, is planning to transform his unexpected departure from Wall Street into a television show that will change lives.

The Wilton resident is now the chief catalyst behind the Wall Street Exodus project, a forum in which he hopes to highlight the lives of laid-off financial service industry people on television, all while encouraging them to use their Wall Street knowledge to build businesses and to help less-fortunate people in Bridgeport.

The reality TV show idea came to him after he was laid off in 2008 by Nano Holdings, a venture capital firm in Rowayton. “I lost my job, and I didn’t have any money saved up,” said Petterson, a father of three. He initially thought about renewing contacts with industry friends in New York City, but headlines about the bad economy made him change course. He decided it was time to do something different.

His mission now is to find six men who lost their jobs in the financial crisis and pair them with six men from Bridgeport to live together for a year and work to create sustainable businesses. Casting calls were held two weeks ago in New Canaan and New York City. Petterson said about 50 men responded, and he’s planning to start filming this year.

“A lot of the guys have been surprisingly honest about their difficult times,” he said.

The men will work with Bridgeport-based Pivot Ministries , a group created in 1970 to transform the lives of people in Norwalk and Bridgeport with drug and alcohol problems. Petterson did not say who will be in the cast but expects at least one man from New Canaan and one from Westport to be involved.

Petterson said he hopes the men will forget their difficult situations by focusing on making things better for others. “The end goal is to have these guys’ lives transformed,” he said.

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