Going from a life of crime to life in the suburbs proves to be the ultimate challenge in Oxygen Media’s quirky new half-hour docu-comedy series “Unprotected,” premiering Tuesday, April 11 at 9pm ET/PT. The series follows the Cantarellas, a boisterous, old-school family that participated in the Federal Witness Protection Program after their testimony led to the conviction of one of the most powerful crime families in the country. Now out of the program and raising two teenagers in Scottsdale, Arizona, viewers will get an up-close and amusing glimpse into the lives of this New York family as they adapt to their unfamiliar suburban surroundings, try to shred old habits and stay true to themselves.
“‘Unprotected’ is a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy series that reminds us that at the core of it all, it’s all about family,” said Rod Aissa, Executive Vice President, Original Programming & Development, Oxygen Media. “The Cantarella way may not always be the norm, but they’re a delightful blend of clashing generations and over-the-top personalities. The pursuit of second chances will resonate with our audience, making everyone feel as if they're a part of the family.”
In the series premiere, after being offended by a not-so-great Yelp review of the family car wash, Richard and Lauretta track down the culprit in an effort to get the review removed. Meanwhile, Toni and Richie Jr. make a commercial in hopes of turning the wash’s reputation around. From running a legit family business to making new friends, the Cantarellas are putting their wayward past behind them and learning how to live life in the ‘burbs.
Meet the Family:
Richard Cantarella - Richard, the 73-year-old patriarch, is a former mob captain who turned on his associates in order to protect his family and remove them from the dangers associated with life within the mafia. Richard grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and knew everyone there was to know in town. At 18 years old, Richard met the love of his life, Lauretta, right down the block from where he grew up, and the two have been married for 52 years.
Lauretta Cantarella - Lauretta, the 70-year-old matriarch, is loyal to the core. For Lauretta, family always comes first: she lives and breathes for her husband, children, and grandchildren, who all live in the same gated community. Lauretta grew up in a fifth-floor walkup tenement building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and prides herself on being an old-school girl’s girl.
Tracey Accardo - Tracey is the daughter of Richard and Lauretta, sister to Paul, and runs one of the Cantarellas' car washes. Tracey enjoyed growing up on Staten Island and has been married to her husband, Eddie, for 25 years, having met him when she was 17. Tracey has a big personality and an even bigger heart filled with love for her family, including her two children, a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter.
Paul Cantarella - Paul is the son of Richard and Lauretta, brother to Tracey, and has helped run the family car wash business since the very beginning. Born on Staten Island, he met his wife, Kim, through a mutual friend and knew right away that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Paul is extremely family oriented and loves to spend time with his two children, Richie and Toni Ann. His favorite activity is to go to the gym with his kids.
Kim Cantarella - Kim was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Staten Island. Unlike her immediate family, who are primarily involved in the family car wash business, Kim is a stay-at-home mother to her two children, Richie and Toni Ann. Kim met her husband, Paul, through a mutual friend at the age of 20, and they were married three years later. She is particularly sensitive and blunt, and she worries about everyone and everything.
Toni Ann Cantarell - Toni Ann is the daughter of Paul and Kim, sister to Richie, and is the youngest member the Cantarella family. Although she was born on Staten Island, she grew up in Scottsdale after a brief time in Pennsylvania and Tennessee when her family was in the Federal Witness Protection Program. She plans to attend Arizona State University in the fall and study business, but she will still live at home with her parents.
Richie Cantarella - Richie is the son of Paul and Kimberly Cantarella and brother to Toni Ann. He was born on Staten Island, but at a young age he lived in Pennsylvania and Tennessee while his family was in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Richie recently graduated from high school in Arizona (where he currently resides), and although his parents want him to go to college, he would rather go into the family business.
“Unprotected” is produced by Propagate with Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Kevin Healey, Eric Kutner, Haylee Vance and Meredith Prunkard serving as Executive Producers.