Restaurant Stakeout staged fights; arm wrestling show; Trump University lawsuit

  • More evidence that Food Network’s shameful Restaurant Stakeout is fake: The owner of The Original Mama Angelo’s said producers “made us stage incidents. They made the staff fight … it wasn’t real. That was upsetting.”
  • AMC tells me that there’s no word yet on the future of its great series The Pitch, but the network has renewed Small Town Security and announced a new documentary series: King Of Arms, which is “a look inside the raw and highly-competitive world of American arm wrestling.”
  • Florida’s ridiculous attorney general, Pam Bondi, recently postponed an execution so she could attend a fundraiser–for her own re-election campaign. Now, three days after she announced she was considering deciding whether to join New York’s lawsuit against Trump Institute, “Trump’s foundation cut a $25,000 check to a committee associated with Bondi’s campaign,” The Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell reports. Incredible. In August, Trump’s school was sued by New York’s attorney general for $40 million, when Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that “Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers’ advancement through costly programs and caused real financial harm. Trump University, with Donald Trump’s knowledge and participation, relied on Trump’s name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand.”
  • Sharon Osbourne’s makeup artist is suing NBC over an injury sustained on the set of America’s Got Talent, and Sharon–who’s no fan of NBCtold TMZ that the show’s stage is “he worst stage in the entire world … Some guy designed a stage set with a hole in the middle. Somebody has to pay the price.”
  • The Hills star Jason Wahler writes about his suicide attempt, addiction, and more, and how they were affected by his time on the series: “I knew that Laguna and The Hills weren’t the source of my addiction, but the overnight success, fame and cash ignited my addiction much quicker.” He also says that it was on Celebrity Rehab that “I really decided to put my game face on and do whatever it took to get sober, including letting go of my past demons.”
  • Bravo executive Christian Barcellos has been hired by Fox International Channels as its new VP of lifestyle and reality programming; Variety notes that he “steered many of” Bravo’s hit shows, such as The Real Housewives, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Flipping Out, and Bethenny’s shows.
  • How to get your business featured on a reality show.
  • American Idol winner Phillip Phillips now has two albums on the Billboard 200, including his debut album, which is moving back up the chart.
  • Next Food Network Star winner Jeff Mauro has the most-popular recipes on Food Network’s web site (via Food Network Gossip). No one tell Ina Garten that she’s number two to a sandwich-making reality star.
  • Review: Married at First Sight

    Marriage At First Sight

    In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

    Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

    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.