Bravo’s Work Out, HGTV’s Design Star join summer line-up

Last week, Bravo debuted another inside-the-workplace series, Work Out, a series that follows life inside a gym and at home with the gym’s owner, Jackie Warner. In her, the network has finally found itself a lesbian star, having found previous success with gay men, gay-acting straight men, and gay male-dominated professions. She’s not quite as good at reading her scripted narration as Jonathan Antin is, and the show will apparently spend a lot more time on her dramatic relationship with her younger girlfriend than Blow Out spends on Jonathan’s home life.

The show also, um, stars reality TV alumni Rebecca Cardon and her client Victoria Fuller, who appears without her husband Jonathan Baker anywhere in sight. For part of last week’s debut, the show seemed like it was going to ignore the fact that two The Amazing Race 6 cast members were on the show, but finally acknowledged it, although briefly. There are also other trainers, some of whom were recently hired and appear to be little more than imported drama. Still, while we wait for Blow Out to return, this seems entertaining enough.

Last night, HGTV launched its Project Runway clone Design Star, which airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET and repeats Thursdays at 8 and Saturdays at 6. The show is judged in part by former Trading Spaces designer Vern Yip, whose NBC series never took off. Ten contestants compete in various interior decorating challenges and are eliminated by the judges one by one; the winner gets an HGTV series.

In The New York Times, Virginia Heffernan recounts the ways the show is like its Bravo grandparent, but says “it’s thrilling just to see something you haven’t seen before.” But The New York Daily News’ David Hinckley says the show “is clearly more interested in their choice of wall paint and accent pillows — and for HGTV fans, that’s the right call.”

Work Out [Bravo]
Design Star [HGTV]

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.