Boy Scout competition, musical chairs, weather, more gypsies all coming to reality TV

Several networks announced new reality shows over the past few days, and several of those caught my attention, either because they seem fascinating or horrifying or both.

First, the best/worst-titled series ever: The CW’s Oh Sit!, which is actually musical chairs. Apparently, there will be an obstacle course as part of that, so it could be fun if it’s at all like Wipeout. Then again, it’s still musical chairs on prime-time network TV.

National Geographic is planning Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout? is produced by Deadliest Catch producers Original Productions, and features “adults from all walks of life will compete with the country’s top Boy Scouts for merit badges in challenges on the Scouts’ 100-year-old handbook.”

Following the fascinating, must-watch UK series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, two networks have ordered their own gypsy shows. TLC, which aired the Channel 4 version, will air My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, which is “in active production across several states including West Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland, will share the lives of several Gypsy and Traveller families.”

American Gypsies is National Geographic’s version, which follows a Manhattan Gypsy family and is produced by Karate Kid Ralph Macchio. It seems more like The Real Housewives of New Jersey with its focus on one family that values its traditions, and clips I saw suggest it will be full of drama.

OWN is taking The Bachelor‘s format to an entire town–in Georgia. Lovetown, USA will see two matchmakers “take over Kingsland [Georgia] for 30 days helping eight singles embark on a journey to find true love in their own backyard.” OWN will also air Lives on Fire, about four women who are members of California’s emergency response teams.

CMT is giving Melissa Rycroft and her husband Tye Strickland their own series, Melissa and Tye: A New Reality, which is about Melissa moving to L.A. while Ty stays in Texas. In , National Geographic Channel will air yet another show about people who catch sea creatures in extreme conditions; this one is called Wicked Tuna.

Finally, the Weather Channel has interesting-looking reality TV coming up to add to its lineup, which includes two more seasons of Coast Guard Alaska. Those shows stretch the definition of weather-related a little bit, and are Lifeguard!, which is self-explanatory, and Braving the Elements, which is about people who work extreme jobs in extreme conditions.

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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.


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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.