Oprah cheats by giving letting both Your OWN Show finalists win while viewers still lose

The Oprah Winfrey Network’s first competitive reality series, Your OWN Show, ended its low-rated first (and thus probably last) season on Friday night with predictable ending: Oprah refused to pick between the two finalists, Zach Anner and Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco. She didn’t even fake out one of them, she just said, “The truth is that both of you have given your heart, and the truth is that both of you really deserve to have your own show. Kristina, and Zach, I’m going to make that happen. You will both have your own show on the OWN network.”

It was anticlimactic, which fit with this derivative and weak series that had watchable moments but never worked for what it was supposed to be. Executive producer Mark Burnett included himself as the final episode’s mentor, but didn’t do much by way of teaching the finalists how to actually produce a show. Instead, he just said ironic things, such as, “it’s going to come down to execution, because in the end, what’s on that screen is what’s going to matter.”

Exactly, and that’s why this show was pretty awful. He also said, “What we’re always trying to avoid in television is having the viewer take a few seconds to say to themselves, ‘Is that real?’ While they’re thinking that, they’re missing something else important you might have said.” About a half-dozen examples of this happening on Burnett’s own series popped immediately into my head, including that fake “OWN Studios” sign that every establishing shot included.

As to the winners, Zach was always funny and pretty much never did anything wrong, perhaps because he had previous experience in his own web series, or because he just looked good by comparison to the disaster that was the other contestants. That was Burnett’s biggest failing here and in Design Star: casting for drama instead of talent, and then focusing on drama instead of process. That works on his competitive series, which I love, but fails this subgenre miserably.

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.