Animal Planet gets into the cupcake reality show field with vegan cupcake baker series

Animal Planet and its growing collection of people-centered reality series will soon give television yet another series about cupcakes. The 12 half-hour episodes of Sweet Avenger, which debuts this summer, follows vegan cupcake baker Danielle Konya.

How is this related to animals? Danielle says in the network’s press release, “I want to show people that by eating a vegan confection, you’re directly saving the lives of cows, chickens and thereby the environment and habitats of thousands of other exotic species. There’s nothing appetizing about the suffering of 10 billion animals a year, and my treats can satisfy both the palate and the conscience.”

I’d be more skeptical about the fit with Animal Planet had I not just read novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s exceptional nonfiction book Eating Animals, which he wrote when his son was born to figure out what kind of food he should be eating and feeding his kid. The book–which I highly recommend reading; it’s fascinating–argues that you either support cruelty to animals and ecological destruction, or you stop eating animals. Even organic products or “free-range” eggs are produced in ways that involve ridiculous cruelty, so it’ll be interesting to see how that argument translates to reality TV and cupcakes.

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.