Sean Duffy fourth-dumbest in Congress; Nina Garcia affects stock market; Kathy renewed; Sister Wives suing Utah

Congressman Sean Duffy, who got his start on The Real World Boston, is the fourth-dumbest member of Congress, judging by the grade level of the language he uses in his speeches. It averages 8.04 according to The Sunlight Foundation. The average in Congress is 10.6, down from 11.5 in 2005. [Upworthy]

Bravo has ordered a second season of Kathy Griffin’s talk show. This surprises me, since the first season was so awful. Interestingly, the release says nothing about the show’s ratings–and Bravo nearly always brags about good and/or improving ratings. [Bravo press release]

A tweet from Nina Garcia caused JC Penny’s stock to rise–really. Her tweet praised the store’s new strategy of opening smaller shops inside its stores. Not coincidentally, Nina was recently hired as a “resident style voice and fashion collection curator” for the company. [Wall Street Journal]

The stars of Sister Wives are suing Utah and their home county, challenging the law that prohibits polygamy. [Washington Post]

The WGA has successfully unionized the story producer/writers on shows produced by Lion Television and Optomen Productions, such as Worst Cooks in America. [Los Angeles Times]

The stars of Jersey Shore are defending Deena, denying tabloid claims that they are angry with her. [Examiner]

Twitter is planning on producing Twitter-only reality series such as The Hills. I have no idea what that actually means. [AdWeek]

Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance at NBC’s party for TV critics Tuesday night. (I was busy interviewing some of the cast members of The Glee Project and getting my picture taken with the monkey that will save NBC.) Anyway, some other critics managed to get by her security to ask about Bristol’s Lifetime show, on which 3-year-old Tripp probably used a gay slur; Sarah called the series “clever and absolutely real.” [New York Times]

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.