Mark and Donnie Wahlberg on reality TV; Idol preview; Tim Gunn’s bathroom

  • Two new reality series for the Wahlbergs: TVGN’s Rock the Boat, which takes fans on a cruise for a week with their favorite band, will feature New Kids on the Block first; that’ll be produced by Donnie Wahlberg. Meanwhile, A&E has ordered Wahlburgers, a documentary series that watches as “Mark and Donnie head back to their hometown to join forces with their professed ‘most talented sibling,’ Paul, in their tasty business venture.”
  • Netflix’s first acquisition of an original documentary is Jehane Noujaim’s film The Square, which is about the Egyptian revolution, and which HBO reportedly wanted to air in the U.S. but filmmakers rejected so they could have more distribution via Netflix.
  • The success of Blackfish (the must-watch film about SeaWorld’s killer whale) and other documentaries means that CNN will put “heavy emphasis in acquiring unscripted shows by outside producers” and expanding its unscripted programming. Capital New York reports that, as part of that, Anthony Bourdain may have a talk show in addition to his series Parts Unknown. CNN exec Amy Entelis talked to Vulture about the network’s investment in documentaries.
  • Amish Mafia star Esther Freeman’s boyfriend Imir Williams, aka Mirkat, was arrested for aggravated assault on her and sent to jail after not being able to make $250,000 bail. The Patriot News reports that police said the “6-foot-4, 210-pound Williams … repeatedly punched her, fracturing her face and breaking her nose and several teeth, at their North Decatur Street home early on Oct. 31.” Because of all this, Chuck Miller of the Times-Union argues that “the show needs to stop. Right now. Take a break, a hiatus, some time off. Esther needs help to get into a better and more stable home life. She needs to break free from this clown I’Mir Williams, and she needs to do so in a court of law. Don’t do this as part of the show, don’tt film this and make it a plotline for the series. That’s not appropriate. Do this without the cameras. Do this for your life and for the lives of your loved ones.”
  • Here’s Tim Gunn’s new $1.5 million penthouse. He has Project Runway artifacts in his bathroom.
  • Tim Gunn will examine politicians’ fashion for Politico, because what politics in America definitely needs is more superficiality.
  • Lisa Vanderpump insists she’s staying on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but after just one season, Lydia McLaughlin is leaving.
  • Doug Phillips, who’s connected to TLC’s the Duggars (from 19 Kids and Counting) and an advocate relationships where men control women in relationships, resigned over a “a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman,” though he said “did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense.” The organization he led, Vision Forum Ministries, is closing. He’s also a proponent of not using birth control.
  • The fourth season of VH1′s Couples Therapy will feature Farrah Abraham, Ghostface Killah, and Jon Gosselin, among others. It airs in January.
  • Bravo partnered with Spotify to create playlists for each episode of shows such as The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Vanderpump Rules.
  • Travel Channel has ordered a show with a working title of Resort Recon that sounds exactly like that shitty fake series Restaurant Stakeout; the network describes it as resort owners who “watch multiple camera feeds as he exposes bad customer service, out-of-control guests and dysfunctional employee-owner dynamics.” It’s produced by the exact same production company, RelativityREAL.
  • Reality TV productions generate at least $7,500 a day for Suffolk County, New York, which is central and eastern Long Island.
  • Omarosa basically campaigned for Hillary Clinton at a super PAC event: “I saw her fight for breast cancer awareness for women. I saw her fight for opportunities for children. So now as we prepare to see her take the helm as the first female president of the United States, all of us have to get together and get behind this sister.”
  • Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak offers his theory of why reality TV exists: “They’re celebrity factories, where you can make new celebrities that you can cover, and they become celebrities, and then you have a reason to have your celebrity show.” That’s interesting, but then Pat has to go and say this: “Wheel of Fortune is more reality TV than reality TV. We don’t know what’s going to happen. They know what’s going to happen. They make it happen. And that’s fine. I’m not putting it down. But I laugh at the name of the genre because if anything, there’s almost nothing better planned than reality TV.” Some reality TV, Pat, only some.
  • Remember MTV’s The Paper? (If not, you can watch the series.) Someone GIFed the show, turning it into a list called (Almost) Everything I Learned about Journalism I Learned From “The Paper.” And if you want to know what the cast members are doing now, Romenesko checked in on them back in August.
  • Harry Connick, Jr., is taunting Mariah Carey on Twitter, saying it “must’ve been hard to judge in hell,” calling this upcoming season “heaven.” He also insisted he has “no hate for that sweet lady – i just feel bad that she didn’t have what we have – the best @AmericanIdol ever!”
  • Judge for yourself: Fox released four minutes of footage from American Idol auditions, which show off the new panel of judges: Harry Connick, Jr. Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban. One auditioner tells the judges, “This is what I was looking forward to: you guys laughing and having fun.” Based on that and the clips here, the show is absolutely going for a Voice-like friendly and playful vibe between the judges, instead of the absolute mess of the last few seasons. But it’s otherwise the same show.

    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.