MTV plans “empowering and aspirational series”; Oxygen, Fox Reality get new shows

As holiday presents to us, three cable networks have announced a chunk of new shows that will join the reality series debuting in 2009.

MTV announced several series that it calls “empowering and aspirational,” and which actually seem like that, for the most part, the network is attempting to actively move away from the fake shit and drunk shit that has defined it for the past few years.

College Life is “a completely self-produced, groundbreaking series following students as they embark on their freshman year of school” at the University of Wisconsin, Madison–and sounds exactly like Showtime’s RJ Cutler-produced series Freshman Diaries, which also gave cameras to first-year students and let them film their lives instead of having camera crews and producers do it. MTV’s “performing arts reality project” will also be set at a school and “features students from Cincinnati’s famed, School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA).”

The College Humor Show will follow the staff of CollegeHumor.com as it’s “[s]hot in the actual site offices and featuring the actual site employees,” while Nitro Circus, which is executive produced by Johnny Knoxville, follows Travis Pastrana, “the world’s best freestyle motocross rider since the age of 14″ whose “empire” “includes video games, licensed merchandise, and now a MTV series” that will feature “his equally insane and entertaining buddies.”

How’s Your News is based on the 1999 road trip film, and “will feature a team of reporters who drive across America in a customized tour bus documenting their experiences, which includes everything from covering the Grammy’s red carpet, to performing at the SXSW music festival, to learning to make cheese balls with Amy Sedaris.” South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker executive produced the film and now the series.

Finally, The Girls of Hedsor Hall is executive produced by Donald Trump and the US version of Ladette to Lady; it “ships 12 of the hardest partying, most foul-mouthed women in America off to England” for finishing school, where their guides will include Miss USA Tara Conner. And Daddy’s Girls is a spin-off of Run’s House that follows Vanessa and Angela Simmons “as they make a permanent move to Los Angeles to set up a west coast office and showroom for their wildly successful pastry tennis shoe and apparel line, and so Vanessa can pursue her acting career.”

Over on Oxygen, the network will debut Addicted to Beauty, which follows “the larger than life staff at one of the country’s hottest beauty enhancement facilities in California,” and Hogs & Heifers, which follows “Michelle Dell and her saucy, foul mouthed, fire blowing bartenders in two of the famous Hogs & Heifers locations, New York and Las Vegas.” And The Naughty Kitchen follows Blythe Beck, who’s head chef at Hector’s on Henderson in Dallas, specifically “her life running the kitchen and the colorful crew at Hector’s, while exploring Beck’s personal life beyond the kitchen.”

The Girls stars John Wayne’s granddaughter Jennifer Wayne, Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter Tayla Lynn, and the great great great great grandniece (there’s a stretch) of Daniel Boone, Caroline Cutbirth, “as they take on dating and mating in the nation’s heartland” and “chase their dreams of country music stardom.” And Lady and the Champ is a docudrama that follows Sugar Shayne Mosley, his wife Jin, and “their four young kids and wacky extended family.”

Finally, in August, Fox Reality will debut Househusbands of Hollywood, its version of The Real Housewives. The network promises it “showcases the lives of five men and their high-powered, bread-winning wives,” and identifies those men as Charlie Mattera, who’s married to a psychologist; “former Los Angeles Dodger Billy Ashley, married to successful celebrity makeup artist Lisa Ashley; aspiring actor Danny Barclay and his wife Katherine Barclay, a high-powered Hollywood attorney; Darryl M. Bell, best known for his role on ‘A Different World,’ plays house with actress Tempestt Bledsoe formerly of ‘The Cosby Show’; and former Marine Corps sniper Grant Reynolds, husband of Jillian Reynolds, of ‘FOX NFL Sunday’ and ‘Good Day LA.’”

MTV Launches New Ambitious Programming Schedule… [MTV press release]
Oxygen Goes Behind the Scenes… [Oxygen]
FOX REALITY CHANNEL’S ORIGINAL SERIES “HOUSEHUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD” TO PREMIERE IN AUGUST [Fox Reality]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.