Celebrity Duets cast announced

The celebrity duets on the finale of American Idol 5 were a nice way of previewing Simon Cowell’s latest FOX reality series. Celebrity Duets “pairs singing stars with celebrities outside the music industry to make beautiful music together,” according to FOX. Naturally, the series will be a competition involving viewer votes; the winner’s charity gets $100,000.

Last summer, FOX said they were spinning American Idol off into a celebrity version that would feature the same judges and a $1 million prize. But later, producers said that nothing was confirmed. Since FOX is airing this new series, that might mean they’ve given up on Celebrity Idol, although this new show is very different in format and structure.

Those singing stars are actual stars, not just D-list singers someone dragged out of detox to be on the show. Because of that, however, they won’t stick around for the entire season, as the dancing professionals do on Dancing with the Stars. Instead, the celebrity contestants “will be paired with a different recording superstar” each week, unless they get voted off. The artists scheduled to appear so far include Clint Black, Michael Bolton, Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dayne, Peter Frampton, Macy Gray, James Ingram, Wynonna Judd, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx, Brian McKnight, Aaron Neville, Smokey Robinson, Randy Travis, Dionne Warwick, and Lee Ann Womack.

Simon Cowell tells TV Guide that “had to have literally the best singers in the world, we felt, and I think they’ve pretty much done that.” He says that, initially, “I truthfully did not think we were ever going to make the show” because he “said to the producers, ‘If you can find us 10 legendary names for this show, we’re going to make it, and if you don’t, we can’t.’ And I gave them a 10 percent chance of proceeding.”

Clearly, they succeeded. The celebrities, however, are a bit more C-list. They are, according to a FOX press release:

Chris Jericho (WWE World Champion), actress Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Battlestar Galactica”), actor Cheech Marin (“Cars,” “Nash Bridges”), 2004 Olympic Gold Medal-winning gymnast Carly Patterson, actor/director Alfonso Ribeiro (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “All of Us”), pop culture guru Jai Rodriguez (“Queer Eye”), actor/comedian Hal Sparks (“Queer as Folk”) and actress Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future,” “Caroline in the City”)

The show debuts Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. ET, and then moves to its regular timeslot on Thursdays at 9. Results shows air Fridays at 9. It will be hosted by Wayne Brady.

…Named as Celebrities Competing for Charity on “Celebrity Duets”… [FOX press release]
Simon Spills Celebrity Duets’ Secrets [TV Guide]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.