New reality shows follow coal miners, Iditarod racers; competitions between celebrity stylists, restaurateurs

Cable and broadcast networks announced new reality series this week, including competitions and docudramas.

NBC will produce a reality competition hosted by Marco Pierre White, who is the star of the UK’s Hell’s Kitchen, that will award its winners a New York restaurant. The Chopping Block follows eight couples who are tested “on their restaurant and culinary skills, such as concocting a signature dish, preparing freshly killed game, handling a wedding reception and how savvy they are with four of the world’s classic cuisines — French, Asian, Italian and Mediterranean,” according to NBC. The press release calls this “a new original cooking competition series,” but it sounds a lot like the BBC’s Last Restaurant Standing, which is currently airing on BBC America.

VH1 has ordered a competition to find a celebrity stylist that will be hosted by Vivica A. Fox. Eight episodes of Glam God With Vivica A. Fox will air this summer, and “searches for the next great celebrity stylist who has what it takes to become the stylist to the stars through their ability to create a chic masterpiece using the three key elements of fashion — hair, make-up and wardrobe,” according to VH1. The winner will get $100,000.

ABC “has ordered a new unscripted show from the producer of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ in which Americans go to a foreign country to compete in challenges” and “will mix reality and game show elements as contestants adapt to another culture while competing,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Its working title is Big in Japan, but that “might change because producers are considering several different countries, including Japan.”

The Discovery Channel has ordered two more series from the producer of Deadliest Catch, Thom Beers and his Original Productions. Six episodes of Coal will debut in the fall and “will follow coal miners working at a small company in Brady’s Bend, Pa., as they compete against the conglomerates in the constant struggle to find new coal to supply to buyers,” while Iditarod is “a six-part series being eyed for a late-summer premiere” that “follows eight teams in the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — a 1,151-mile race that takes place over two weeks each March in the subzero Alaskan wilderness,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

NBC Turns Up The Heat With ‘The Chopping Block’… [NBC press release]
VH1 is Teaming Up With Vivica A. Fox To Search For The Next Great Celebrity Stylist… [VH1 press release]
Americans on the go in ABC reality series and Discovery picks up series on miners, Iditarod [Hollywood Reporter]

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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.