Discovery, TLC, BET, Animal Planet, Travel Channel renew, add reality shows

Several networks have announced new and returning series earlier this month, and there are are a ton of reality shows coming our way.

The Discovery Channel’s renewed shows include Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, Man vs. Wild (including the Will Ferrell and product placement episode), Mythbusters, American Loggers, and Storm Chasers.

TLC announced it has renewed Jon & Kate Plus 8 (no surprise there, despite the pretend anxiety over whether or not it’d be back) plus 18 Kids and Counting and Little People, Big World. Also renewed: American Chopper, LA Ink, Toddlers & Tiaras, and Street Customs.

Its ton of new shows include The Little Couple, a series that follows the Little People Just Married special about Bill Klein and Jen Arnold’s wedding; and Table for 12, yet another large family series that debuted last month. TLC will also air The General, a docudrama that follows “interior designer turned contractor” Summer Batlzer as she “turns botched contracting jobs into dream homes,” and air Cake Boss, a docudrama about cake artist Buddy Valastro; Mom, Inc., which stars Kelly Ripa as she “helps struggling entrepreneurs turn an innovative idea into a lucrative business” on HSN; and The Police Women Project, a docudrama about five women working at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Also new: Eat, Drink and Be Married, which TLC says “follows The Frungillo family” who “own and operate four of the most successful catering facilities that go to extreme lengths to make a bride and groom’s dream come true”; Wild Weddings, a series about “the outrageous, amusing and out-of-control moments that happen when the big day doesn’t go as planned”; and Wedded to Perfection, which “follows the charismatic owners of Fete Events, spouses Jung Lee and Josh Brooks as they plan and execute some of the most high- end weddings and special events in New York City.”

In the makeover arena, Clinton Kelly gets his own show, Freakin’ Fabulous with Clinton Kelly, and TLC has also renewed What Not to Wear and given a new makeover series, Making Over America with Trinny & Susannah, to the UK version’s hosts, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine.

BET has announced six new reality shows: Changing Lanes, which will be about “the search for the sport’s next generation of [NASCAR] drivers”; Crews Control, a docudrama about actor Terry Crews and his family; Monica: Still Standing, which follows Monica at home and in her career; First In, which follows emergency response teams; The Hollywood Treatment, on which “a celebrity helps to give an individual a life transformation in partnership with a foundation chosen by the celebrity or individual”; and The Hollywood Treatment, which “pairs celebrities with individuals looking to transform their lives,” according to the network.

Meanwhile, Animal Planet announced its own new series and renewals. The renewals include the great shows Jockeys and Whale Wars, while new series include Bio Recon, which follows venom expert Donald Schultz; Cowboys, which Animal Planet says “follows three family-owned and operated ranches through an entire” season; The Judi Hoffman Project, which follows a pet psychic; and Pit Bulls and Parolees, which follows the woman who runs the Villalobos Rescue Center.

When the Discovery Health Channel turns into OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, next year, it will air a few reality series. The network says those include Master Class, on which “extraordinary people” Oprah selects will tell their stories; Surfer’s Healing, a docudrama “about former competitive surfer Izzy Paskowitz, his wife Danielle, their three children — one of whom is autistic and their surf school business”; and Excellent Adventure, which “follows a celebrity and their best friend as they embark on the adventure they have always dreamt of taking together.”

Travel Channel has renewed Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Dhani Tackles the Globe, and Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches.

Investigation Discovery has renewed Dallas DNA and The Shift, and will several new series: The Will: Family Divided, “a ten-part series that explores the family intrigue, legal wrangling and high emotions surrounding real-life stories of family inheritance”; The Bureau, which “profiles the modern Federal Bureau of Investigations”; and Prison Wives, which follows “women who have fallen in love with and married a prisoner behind bars.”

…Discovery Channel’s 2009-10 Upfront Slate Is Filled With Captivating Series And Specials, TLC Launches Into Upfront With Ratings Growth And A Programming Slate That’s Anything But Ordinary, BET Networks Announces New Shows…, Animal Planet Unleashes Bold Entertainment Slate, Travel Channel Enters 2009-10 Upfront Season With Record Ratings, Popular Returning Series And New Programs…,
Investigation Discovery’s 2009-10 Upfront Programming Slate…
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network Gives Sneek Peak… [press releases]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.