Simon is Coke’s “asshole pitchman.”

Simon is Coke’s “asshole pitchman.”
The ubiquitous Coke cups in front of the American Idol 2 judges, never mind the red room and infomercials for Coke products, make Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the show Crystal Pepsi clear. And now, Simon Cowell is starring in an ad for Vanilla Coke. The ad, which you can watch via Slate, oddly shows Simon reading an endorsement off a cue card. Slate’s Rob Walker asks why the company would “[rely] on an asshole pitchman” for their new product, especially one who kowtows. He concludes that conclusion has to do with Simon’s honest critiques (as opposed to the other judges’ “BS”): “On the one hand, Cowell’s endorsement means something because of his nasty brand of integrity; on the other hand, it’s sort of satisfying to see him totally cowed.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.