Four judges for Idol, with Nicki Minaj? Plus Top Chef cruise, Voice changes, Ryan Lochte closes in on Bachelor

American Idol may return to a four-judge panel, because that worked so well last time. That’d be Mariah Carey and the latest rumors, Keith Urban (or another country star), Enrique Iglesias (or another Latin star), and Nicki Minaj. Randy Jackson could become a mentor. Or all this could change. [The Hollywood Reporter]

You can now book tickets on the four-night April Top Chef cruise, which includes contact with Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and contestants from the regular and Masters version of the series (no Padma?!). [Top Chef: The Cruise]

We appear to be moving ever-closer to a Ryan Lochte-fronted season of The Bachelor, which would be perfect on every level–especially because already becoming bros with Chris Harrison, he told Jay Leno he needs his family’s permission before going on the ABC. [Los Angeles Times]

AMC renewed its low-rated but awesome advertising agency competition series The Pitch, and ordered two new series, including a taxidermy competition. [AMC press release]

A former Millionaire Matchmaker is going to prison “for seven federal crimes, including conspiracy, and wire, bank and mail fraud.” That Patti sure can pick ‘em! [The Tampa Bay Times]

The Voice is modifying its format slightly, allowing the coaches to take each other’s discarded contestants, but not getting rid of the black hole known as the battle round. [Billboard]

Deadliest Catch creator and reality TV uberproducer Thom Beers may become general manager at FremantleMedia North America, which produces American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and more. The company bought Beers’ company three years ago. [Variety]

If you don’t already, please follow me on Twitter, and then tell all your friends to do that so I can beat my frenemy Damian Holbrook of TV Guide to 10,000 followers. He’s currently ahead of me thanks to his shameless pleas to fans of scripted shows, whatever those are. So let’s prove reality is better. Click here:

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.