students compete for scholarship; Vegas performers compete; fake best friend.

students compete for scholarship; Vegas performers compete; fake best friend.
New competition series have been announced. On ABC, Steve Martin, Bunim-Murray, and sit-com producers Carsey-Werner will join together to create The Scholar, a series that “will follow 15 high school students competing for a shot at a full scholarship at the college of their choice,” according to Variety. ABC alternative programming exec Andrea Wong says this show represents ABC’s distinct “brand for our reality shows,” which is notable for the fact that no one watches them. Actually, she says the series is “about wish fulfillment, emotional journeys that are changing lives for the better. All of our shows pretty much do that.” Variety says they will “cast a wide net for high school contestants,” but no casting information is on ABC or Bunim-Murray’s web sites yet. … Meanwhile, Wayne Newton is looking for a few good Vegas acts. Ten people will compete in E!’s forthcoming The Entertainer, which reports will reward its winner with the opportunity to “appear alongside Newton in the show’s finale and also get a shot at becoming a featured performer in Newton’s long-running show at the Stardust Hotel.” … Ashton Kucher is looking to further erode humanity’s trust with a new series called My New Best Friend. In the show, a contestant gets $15,000 and an actor who plays his or her new best friend, and that person “is then introduced to the victim’s friends and family and attempts to expose all their secrets and thoroughly embarrass the contestant. The player only wins the money if the victim keeps his or her mouth shut and rolls with the punches,” The New York Post reports. Co-executive producer Jason Goldberg says, “It’s fun, it gets dark, it’s evil and we have not had a show where someone doesn’t cry.” Now there’s something to be proud of, you manipulative dick. … Finally, if you’re wondering what’s up with the ads for The $25 Million Hoax on NBC, it’s a three-part series that will air on NBC Nov. 8, 15, and 22. Ed McMahon and George Gray will host the show, “in which one person has to convince her family and friends that she’s won a $25 million lotto.”

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.