Bravo’s Housewives spying; Hulk Hogan was suicidal; The Miz’s holiday bounty hunter movie

  • The evil geniuses at Bravo are using a Facebook product to “scan private posts” of “100 million U.S. users, anonymously combining those into useful data about who’s talking about a specific topic,” Variety reports. Note how this new Facebook service uses private posts, not just public ones (although some people don’t seem to know what they share publicly on social media.) Bravo does that during Real Housewives episodes, and then uses that information to create on-screen information for its “social edition” repeats of the same episode, which VP Ellen Stone calls “richer information to keep fans engaged.”
  • All of America’s Got Talent‘s judges, including Howard Stern, will return next season. Phew.
  • The Voice coach Adam Levine has been named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, a designation that just inspires mocking, as if the editors at People have actually considered every living person with a penis. For his part, Adam Levine told the magazine, “I was just amazed and stunned and it almost seemed like they were kidding, but they weren’t, so that’s cool.”
  • Pat Rogers, a police officer featured on TNT’s Boston’s Finest, killed himself Tuesday. The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen writes about him and says, “It says something about our culture that the only reason a lot of people know that Pat Rogers killed himself is because he was on a reality TV show.”
  • Hulk Hogan says he was suicidal when Hogan Knows Best was cancelled by VH1 in 2007. He tells Oprah, “I was drinking alcohol very heavily. It just all kept piling up, it all kept mounting and mounting I didn’t know how to handle it. I always wondered how could someone possibly take their own life and so I got to that point where I said, ‘You know what, maybe this would be easy. You know, maybe this would be an easy way to fix things.'”
  • The star of Animal Planet’s short-lived, one-season 2010 series Wild Recon, Donald Schultz, has pled guilty to selling two endangered monitor lizards for $2,500 on Facebook and without a permit. He has to pay $9,000 and do 200 hours of community service.
  • Fox has announced a very strange schedule for its Tuesday nights in the spring, including one night, Feb. 18, when American Idol will take over the evening’s two hours. But there is good news: Brookly Nine-Nine, fall’s best new comedy, will stick around and get a better lead-in that that shitty Dads.
  • An Israeli show called Rising Star is coming to ABC in the summer, because singing competitions have worked so well for the network in the past. The twist for the show is that it occurs in real time, with feedback and votes from viewers occurring while they’re singing.
  • Discovery’s Wild West Alaska star Jim. V West was “charged with 17 hunting violations, including trespassing on Alaska Native lands while guiding a black bear hunt,” according to a newspaper. But it reports that West’s “attorney has questioned whether troopers might have busted him to boost their TV ratings” on National Geographic’s Alaska State Troopers.
  • Bethenny Frankel’s terrible talk show had a brief ratings bump recently, and Bethenny said, “People are finding the show, they’re liking it, and they’re staying … the show is hitting it’s stride now, and like anything else, you can feel it. It’s an energy with the audience, the staff, the crew — it’s a great feeling.” But not for some guests, who accuse the show of ambushing guests. And despite that, the show is back to getting low ratings.
  • Bar Rescue‘s makeover of Scottsdale’s Stand Up Scottsdale left the club dealing with the city over a lack of permits for changes to the venue’s exterior. The Arizona Republic reports that the makeover on Tempe’s Rocky Point Cantina also didn’t have proper permits. But the paper does note that another venue, Chilleen’s on 17, helped the business, increasing sales by 90 percent thanks to the publicity–though its owner says they initially “thought we got screwed.”
  • Buzzfeed’s Louis Peitzman argues that sitcoms need to stop with the mocumentary format and cease breaking the fourth wall for no reason, like The Michael J. Fox show does. I agree: emulating reality TV shows worked well for Modern Family, The Office, and Parks and Recreation, but it’s now just tired.
  • Duck Dynasty‘s Jep and Jessica are creating a fashion line.
  • Also, here’s a 30-minute film about The Robertsons that is about “what happened before their immense success.”
  • American Idol winner Carrie Underwood is starring as Maria Von Trapp in NBC’s live Sound of Music on Dec. 5; NBC has a look at the production, which basically seems wrong on every level.
  • Mark your calendar for Tuesday at 7 p.m.: That’s the debut of Christmas Bounty, a movie produced by WWE Studios and airing on ABC Family and starring The Real World‘s Mike “The Miz” Mizanin as a bounty hunter. You know, it’s a holiday thing. It’ll be on DVD Dec. 3 if you’d like to own this holiday magic for yourself. Here’s the trailer:
  • 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.