New shows star cougars, teen idols, mamas’ boys, Boy Scouts, millionaires, puking people

Over the past few weeks, networks have announced a bunch of new reality shows that they plan to throw against the wall to see what sticks. They range from a competition about throwing up to a reunion of 1980s teen idols, and while some will debut this summer, we’ll have to wait until next year for a few of them. Here’s a look at everything that’s on the way:

VH1 will air a show next winter that “will bring eight male teen idols of the 1980s and ’90s together to examine what life is like after idol-dom and what it will take to get their careers back on track,” according to THR. The show is executive produced by three child stars: Scott Baio, Jason Hervey, and uber-producer/host JD Roth. The network will also follow Eddie Griffin for Eddie Griffin: Going for Broke. [Hollywood Reporter]

NBC is casting for Momma’s Boys, a series from Ryan Seacrest that wants “Mom’s and their sons who are willing to work together as a team to find the perfect mate. These mothers should have strong opinions about whom their son’s should date and be willing to separate the good from the bad,” the network says. Hopefully those mothers will know how to pluralize “moms” correctly. [NBC casting]

Fox’s only new announced reality series next season is Secret Millionaire, an decidedly un-Fox show that “takes America’s wealthiest individuals away from their lavish lifestyles, sprawling mansions and private planes and places them undercover into some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America,” according to the network. It says the show, which debuts mid-season, “will engage viewers in important social issues, extol the virtues of volunteerism and change the lives of disadvantaged people and the philanthropists who helped them in unexpected ways.” [Fox press release]

TV Land reverses NBC’s cougars versus kittens formula for an as-yet-untitled show that follows “eligible young men [who] vie for the attention of a sexy and accomplished mature woman (the Cougar),” according to the network. [TV Land]

Justin Timberlake is executive producing a show for MTV called The Phone, a hybrid game show and reality show. Variety reports that each episode “begin with two strategically hidden cell phones ringing at opposite ends of a city. Once answered, a mysterious guide gives contestants five seconds to answer whether they want to play the game for the chance at winning a cash prize. When the players are established, they are sent into a race against each other– with the guide watching from a helicopter above — to accomplish their mission.” [Variety]

Style Network will follow a 500-pound-woman, Ruby Gettinger, and her attempt to lose weight in a show called Ruby. Actress Brittany Daniel, one of Ruby’s friends, executive produces the new show. Nine episodes debut this fall. [Hollywood Reporter]

The Boy Scouts of America and its magazine, Boys’ Life, will produce a series for the Outdoor Channel called Scouting for Adventure. It will “capture Scouts in action as they explore the wilderness and educate viewers on outdoor skills and BSA’s core values of education, safety and team building.” But not being gay or an atheist, because of course the Boy Scouts has none of those; those scouts should get their own Bravo reality show. [Outdoor Channel press release]

Hulk Hogan takes his shitty hosting talents to CMT this fall for Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, which the network says “will train ten adventurous celebrities who, through various exhilarating challenges and elimination matches, will compete for the title of ‘Celebrity All-Star Wrestling Champion.'” [CMT press releases]

RuPaul’s Drag Race will air on Logo, and it’s just what it sounds like: a competition to find “America’s next superstar drag queen.” It will air in 2009, but the competition has already started online. [Hollywood Reporter]

TLC will give the world yet another dance competition next month with Masters of Dance, which is hosted by Joey Lawrence and “will air over three consecutive Sundays, with each episode featuring five dancers pitted against each other through three elimination rounds, where they will be tested on style, genre, and personality,” according to the network. [TLC press release]

MTV’s previously announced Legally Blonde musical talent search will debut June 2, and Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods has enlisted Bravo’s Step it Up and Dance mentor Jerry Mitchell as one of its judges. Viewers will not vote to select one of 10 actresses for the role because the series is “[a]iming to position itself more as a ‘Project Runway’ than an ‘American Idol,'” according to Variety. [Variety]

TNT has greenlit four new unscripted shows, including Scott Free’s Crimes of the Century, which “examines incidents that both shocked and fascinated the nation and were windows on the times in which they were committed,” and Heroes Among Us, which “is inspired by a People magazine series that follows the stories of everyday men and women.” [TNT press release]

This summer, G4 will air Hurl, on which contestants “must each eat large amounts of a specific staple American food like Chicken Pot Pie or Mac and Cheese or Chili Dogs in a short period of time. The contestants that ate the most food and didn’t regurgitate will then move on to a physical challenge,” which are described as “nausea-enducing feats of bravery.” After that, the network says, “anyone who hasn’t lost their lunch will then be forced to eat MORE, different food–Ambrosia salad, pumpkin pie, etc,– while still keeping it all in. Then, the final elimination round steps the physical challenge up a notch, tossing in a rogue element of danger.” [G4]

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.