New series: celebrity circuses, Legally Blonde casting, Super Sweet 16 spin-off, Rachel Zoe docudrama, US Top Gear, America’s Top Dog

Several cable and broadcast networks have recently announced a number of new reality series.

Both ABC and NBC are planning shows that let celebrities become circus performers. NBC is “closing a deal for Endemol USA’s” Celebrity Circus, while “[a]fter a fierce bidding war with at least one other network, ABC is in serious negotiations to land the new” Circus of the Stars, Variety reports. Endemol said that in the NBC series, “the celebs would train and perform in a real circus,” and be judged by real circus performers, while ABC’s show might borrow heavily from Dancing with the Stars‘ format.

The Broadway production of Legally Blonde, which is based on the movie, will use an MTV reality show to cast its lead role. The “cable network will hold auditions … for an upcoming reality show that will search for an actress to play Elle Woods,” Playbill reports. Casting cities and dates have been announced.

MTV is spinning off a series from its series Super Sweet 16, which follows brats who get lavish parties because their parents are rich. The new show, Exiled!, is “an eight-episode documentary series that will ship the mini-divas from its Super Sweet 16 series to indigenous tribes in far-off lands like Africa and Antarctica for the chance — their parents hope — of gaining an altered world view,” Broadcasting & Cable reports.

Bravo is giving another hairstylist a docudrama series. The Rachel Zoe Project follows Rachel Zoe, “who has worked with such celebrities as Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and Mischa Barton,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Six episodes produced by Original Media will debut later this year, and will also star “her husband, Rodger; and her ‘fashion team,’ Taylor and Brad.”

NBC has ordered a pilot for a US version of the BBC’s Top Gear. The Hollywood Reporter says it “will be a mix of cars, humor and celebrities,” including “races where the hosts have to reach a destination using different modes of transportation, road tests, challenges like converting and refurbishing existing cars into anything from a stretch limo to an amphibian and celebrities racing a midsize car.” The US version will have different hosts.

CBS has ordered three reality series that are all expected to air this year. America’s Top Dog is a competition series “an hourlong competition series in which dog owners and their pets live together and (Marma)-duke it out with other canine-human teams in a battle to determine the best-trained dog,” Variety reports, cheesily. Hopefully, they’ll cast the “bite me in my vagina” dog owner from Bravo’s Showdog Moms and Dads. R.J. Cutler will produce it.

The network has also ordered Secret Talents of the Stars, “a celeb competition in which famous folks show off their hidden skills,” which will feature two episodes a week including a results show, and Game Show in My Head, another damn hidden camera show from Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg that “has contestants performing outrageous and embarrassing stunts in public, all in an attempt to win big bucks,” Variety says.

Networks in a ‘Circus’ parade [Variety]
Will Legally Blonde’s Next Elle Woods Be Found on MTV Reality Show? and MTV Announces Nationwide Dates for Legally Blonde Reality Auditions [Playbill]
MTV, Bravo Mine Rich Vein [Broadcasting & Cable]
Bravo in style with Zoe show and NBC has pedal to the metal [Hollywood Reporter]
CBS to focus on reality slate [Variety]

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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.