Masterchef Junior renewed; Duck Dynasty creator’s gay porn star role; SeaWorld’s response to Blackfish backlash

  • Scott Gurney, one of the principles at Gurney Productions, which created Duck Dynasty and a lot of shows about sharks, once starred as a gay porn star in a movie called The Fluffer. (Gay Porn Blog has photos from the movie, including Gurney’s full-frontal nudity.) I’d like an episode of Duck Dynasty on which The Robertsons watch that and react.
  • SeaWorld is using full-page ads that respond to what it calls “Inaccurate reports” about its “parks and people,” which follows ongoing backlash as a result of the revelations in Blackfish. Most recently, that’s been eight of 10 musical acts cancelling their appearances at a SeaWorld event called Bands, Brew & BBQ.
  • A federal judge ruled sided with the stars of TLC’s Sister Wives in a lawsuit challenging Utah’s polygamy laws; his ruling “sets a new legal precedent in Utah, effectively decriminalizing polygamy.”
  • There’s now a $75,000 reward for information about the home invasion shooting death of reality TV director James Marcus Howe.
  • Restaurant Impossible tackled Michigan restaurant Kalico Kitchen earlier this year, but the restaurant was shut down for health code violations, and the mayor says the show “was devastating to them I’m afraid because after that show, we got letters at city hall and elsewhere about the cleanliness of the place and I’m afraid that just really gave them such bad publicity.
  • An app creator who appeared on Shark Tank admits that “exposure was definitely a top priority/perk”–and it paid off, since the app, Scan, shot up the App Store charts after the segment aired.
  • Fox has renewed Masterchef Junior, which was surprisingly great. The network noted that the series “improved Fox’s performance in the time period versus last year by +58% among adults 18-49,” and also has “the largest percentage gain of any unscripted series on the Big 4 networks” when ratings were added from people who watched on their DVRs within a week.
  • A 31-year-old man is walking the entire length of the Nile River over the next year, and Levison Wood’s 4,250 will be filmed by his own camera and periodic visits from a camera crew; the results will air on Channel 4 in the UK and Animal Planet in the US.
  • Bravo has ordered The People’s Couch to series. The show, based on the UK’s Gogglebox, films people watching and commenting on TV. So, yes, the snake is eating its own head.
  • CMT has announced two new shows for summer and fall of 2014 that sound intriguing: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch will air in June and is the “ultimate badass competition show” on which eight athletes “go head-to-head until the last man standing earns the right to take on the toughest obstacle course in America, the ‘Skullbuster,’ and the chance to win $10,000.” Death Valley airs later in the summer or fall and is a documentary series that “follows five Death Valley residents who brave the elements — and the perils of a lawless environment — in order to live their lives on their own terms.”
  • How the Wahlberg’s A&E reality show happened.
  • Diane von Furstenberg is casting for a reality show to find a “brand ambassador.”
  • The fakeness of The Hills is now well-documented, but Kristin Cavallari talked about the difference between that and its more authentic predecessor, Laguna Beach: “Laguna Beach, they really just manipulated situations and put us in situations that we normally wouldn’t have been in, or we’d have to film something that maybe happened a month ago or hasn’t happened yet, stuff like that. When I decided to join The Hills, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I knew exactly the character they wanted me to be, so I said, ‘Listen, I’m game. What do you want me to do?'”
  • If you’re going through Survivor withdrawal, read Lisa Ferreira’s LEGO recaps of this past season; they’re incredibly detailed and hilarious. Last season, Lisa gave us the Survivor musical number “Hold Up, Bro.”
  • Whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate next week or this month, we can all appreciate the fun–and reality–in the dysfunction of families gathered together at the holidays, as illustrated perfectly in three of my favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas Story, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and the movie this perfect clip is from, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Happy holidays.
  • The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

    Verlox from The Quest

    A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

    Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


    Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

    Shark Tank

    Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

    Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

    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.