A&E sells its soul by giving Russell Hantz his own house-flipping series

A&E, the network that has brought us exceptional, high-quality reality television such as Hoarders and Teach: Tony Danza, has sold out by giving Survivor pest Russell Hantz his own show about house flipping that even has a title that’s a bad knock-off of Bravo’s Flipping Out.

Flipped “follows ‘Survivor’ Russell Hantz, a ‘flipper’ himself, along with his family, around the Houston area as they try to buy low, renovate cheap and sell high,” according to A&E’s announcement, which features a quote that actually sounds like it came from Russell. “There are tons of reality TV stars sitting on their couches and twiddling their thumbs because they haven’t created anything else. I expect to be one of the biggest house flippers in Houston and I am here to bring Houston’s economy back on its feet,” he said.

A&E VP David McKillop said in the release that Russell’s “life as a house flipper is truly outrageous, real and genuine which fits in nicely with our lineup of non-scripted original series.”

No, it does not, and it seems to me that A&E is severely miscalculating Russell’s appeal beyond being a nasty villain on Survivor. House-flipping has already been done, and well, by Bravo, with Jeff Lewis’ Flipping Out. A&E says “[t]his is the next evolution of house flipping, where the rewards are greater and the perils are harsher,” but they probably should be saying that about the show they just greenlit. At least there’s nothing major Russell can leak when he gets annoyed when things don’t go his way, but good luck to those who sign contracts with him.

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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.