Behind the scenes of Top Chef; highest paid reality stars; Idols on cruises; Shark Tank reruns

  • Top Chef New Orleans debuted Wednesday, and The Times-Picayune’s Dave Walker went behind the scenes during the entire first episode, and the story is a must-read. Perhaps the most surprising part is that the judges re-shoot their feedback to the chefs multiple times, including when contestants aren’t even in the room.
  • Radar’s list of The 23 Highest-Paid Reality TV Stars consists entirely of judges on network music competitions, Housewives, and Kardashians.
  • I’m still not used to the fact that The Real World Boston’s Sean Duffy is a member of Congress, but was reminded of it recently when he appeared in a Daily Show montage of Republicans talking about the government shutdown. He was also assaulted on his way to the Capitol: “a random individual, unknown to the Congressman, began screaming at him and grabbed his arm,” his office said, calling it “a minor incident.”
  • Dottie from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure auditioned for The Voice; she may now be better known as a voice-over actor who does Tommy Pickles on Rugrats.
  • Shark Tank repeats will air on CNBC starting in January.
  • Shark Tank star Mark Cuban testified Thursday in court; he’s being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which accuses him of insider trading. As The New York Times points out, “If found liable, he faces a fine of about $2 million. Having doled out about that much in fines to the National Basketball Association, Mr. Cuban is instead fighting to clear his name and dress down an agency that accused him of trading on confidential information when dumping his stake in an Internet company.”
  • American Idol contestants will be on board Celebrity Cruise ships this Christmas: Finalists at Sea will include Bo Bice, Kimberly Caldwell, Melinda Doolittle, Blake Lewis, and Elliot Yamin, who will perform, do Q&As, and sign autographs.
  • American Idol winner Candice Glover’s will be delayed until February, the first winner besides Kelly Clarkson to have her album delayed until the following year (and Kelly’s season ended in December, not May).
  • CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown has been renewed for a third season.
  • Congrats to Survivor alum and podcaster Rob Cesternino and his wife Nicole: last weekend, they had a baby. Well, Nicole had the baby. Rob’s already back to podcasting.
  • NeNe Leakes talked about how reality TV is “a blessing and curse. It’s a blessing because reality TV has opened up so many doors and opportunities for me, but it’s a curse because I neglect my husband and my children while I’m working so hard. Plus it breaks up friendships and marriages. You also have so many people trying to come into your life because people think they know reality stars.”
  • Vulture ranked the 52 documentary films that have aired so far as part of ESPN’s great 30 for 30 series.
  • Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

    Eaten Alive

    Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


    Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

    winter 2015 reality TV schedule

    Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

    There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

    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.