Celebrity Circus debuts tonight

The latest show in the parade of pseudo-celebrity series comes to NBC tonight as the network debuts Celebrity Circus at 9:30 p.m. ET. As always, “celebrity” is a huge stretch, as the cast is mostly made up of reality stars and D-list celebs, with the exception of Antonio Sabato Jr., and maybe Rachel Hunter and Blu Cantrell.

The cast has been training for eight weeks with a special circus troupe that was assembled for the show, led by Philippe Chartrand. They’ll perform different acts–such as the wheel of death, the high wire, the flying trapeze, and Chinese poles–and compete for viewer votes. Joey Fatone hosts.

I asked executive producer Matt Kunitz–he also produced Fear Factor about the cast during a conference call a few weeks ago, and he said it was a “very tough casting job” because they “wanted to have a diverse cast” and “we needed them to have some physicality” and “commit to this incredibly rigorous training.” He also said they, and I’m quoting here, “didn’t want has-beens” and people who are “still doing stuff in their careers.” I suppose if appearing on reality shows is a career, Christopher Knight has that locked down.

The show may or may not suck, but one thing’s for sure: its initial promos were genius. Even though you know what’s coming after seeing the first one, they’re still rather hysterical. If the show is half this entertaining, it should be a hit.

Celebrity Circus [NBC]

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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.