Tori and Dean faked cheating? Buckwild’s return? Plus Top Gear racial slur apology, Chicagoland e-mail

  • Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott, who are no strangers to fake reality shows, are being questioned about their new Lifetime reality series, True Tori, which is about the real-time fallout from his affair. Jezebel first raised questions, from Tori’s bad acting to the timeline presented in the show. The site also pointed out that Tori works closely with Us Weekly (the publication that airbrushed a baby) on its coverage of her, and gave her first interview about the affair to the magazine–but that publication had just published a tell-all from the woman who had a relationship with Dean, so it wouldn’t exactly seem like the friendliest place to tell your side of the story. Meanwhile, that woman seems to have completely vanished.
  • If you like to believe unnamed “sources” who aren’t identified in any way, some of them told E! News that the “drama and problems are definitely real.” Before the show, Tori wrote, “I needed the chance to tell my own story. At the moment, I don’t know if it will have a happy ending. But I need to get my voice back, and this is my way of doing that.”

  • Some of the scenes in CNN’s Chicagoland documentary series “were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and the show’s producers,” according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune. E-mail messages show that “senior aides to a mayor known for shaping his media image managed how their boss would be portrayed on CNN to a prime time national audience.” Executive producer Marc Levin told the paper that he was “eternally frustrated” about how the mayor’s office controlled access, and while he insisted that they did not have any editorial control, said that “we were sensitive that we were moving through this city and getting access to a lot of places because we had developed a dialogue with the mayor.”CNN responded by insisting that the “mayor’s office was never granted editorial control over the content or the press communications for Chicagoland, and no agency was ever granted authority to offer the mayor’s office editorial approval for the content or the promotional materials for the series.”
  • Discovery’s broadcast of a live jump off of Mount Everest on May 11 was cancelled after an avalanche killed 13 people last week. A statement called it “overwhelming tragedy” and said “out of respect for the families of the fallen, Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community.” Instead, the network will air a documentary about the avalanche on May 4 which “will include unprecedented access and eyewitness accounts from the rescue and recovery efforts that took place after the avalanche struck the Khumbu Icefall, the area just above Mt. Everest base camp,” the network said. That’s possible because crew “[m]embers of an NBC News team were at base camp as they prepared to produce Discovery’s live special, Everest Jump Live.”
  • Top Gear‘s executive producer Andy Wilman apologized for using a racial slur, saying “it was a light-hearted word play joke” and producers “were not aware … that the word ‘slope’ is considered by some to be offensive.” He’s referring to this comment by Jeremy Clarkson; the word is a slur that has been used against Asian people. A formal complaint was filed over its usage.
  • Editors for NBC’s Last Comic Standing went on strike Monday but resumed work Wednesday after receiving a union contract with benefits.
  • The producers of Buckwild, which was cancelled after the death of its stars, are producing a new show for MTV called Slednecks. You may recall that a producer from one of the show’s production companies, Parallel Entertainment, said MTV’s decision “smelled of shit.” Parallel is also producing this new series, which MTV absolutely insists is not Buckwild in a different place. The new show is taping in Wasilla, Alaska, and footage shown to advertisers included naked people swimming in a freezing lake and someone flipping a snowmobile.
  • Vice has a fascinating story about roommates who made up a story to get on Judge Judy. Of note, the plaintiff, Jonathan Coward, who was accused of killing the plaintiff’s cat, says everyone else in the green room was honest, and there was “A lot of venom. A lot of realness.” He also says that his roommate applied to be on My Strange Addiction as a kelptomaniac, stealing from other people’s houses, but producers rejected him because camera operators couldn’t film crimes being committed. My Strange Addiction‘s executive producer confirmed that they wouldn’t ever film illegal conduct, and tells me “I do remember this story but guarantee I didn’t cry.”
  • Rob Wade, who executive produced The X Factor and America’s Got Talent at Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment, will replace Conrad Green as showrunner of Dancing with the Stars this fall. He worked on the show for its first 11 seasons, including as co-executive producer from seasons five to 11.
  • Bing, the search engine used by about 18 percent of people, thinks it can predict eliminations from reality TV shows such as The Voice, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars. Predictions appear in search results (for example). “The Bing Predictions Team” explained their methodology by saying they use popularity to judge who will be safe and who will be eliminated, and “we define popularity as the frequency and sentiment of searches combined with social signals and keywords.”
  • OUT magazine’s list of “the most influential LGBT voices in American culture” includes RuPaul Charles (#49), Anderson Cooper (#14), Michael Kors (#12), and Andy Cohen (#8). Yes, Andy Cohen is more powerful than Anderson Cooper.
  • Ellen DeGeneres is executive producing an HGTV furniture-making competition called Ellen’s Design Challenge. Ellen said in a press release, “I’m so excited about this show because I love finding really special pieces of furniture. One time I found a beautiful one-of-a-kind armoire that spoke to me in a way I’d never experienced. It turned out there was a drifter living inside of it, but that’s a story for another time.”
  • Survivor‘s Andrea Boehlke stars in the Indiegogo-funded “haunting pseudo-documentary” called “Red Bluff.”
  • FYI, A+E Networks are turning the Bio channel into one called FYI, which maybe stands for “For Your Inspiration.” Its president, Jana Bennett, talks about its launch and to help us clearly understand exactly what its programming will be about, she calls it “a genuine space to reinvent lifestyle programming and to be different from competitors in the lifestyle space already, and that is to embrace younger audiences who are really after a one-destination channel which does a range of things about how you live your life today.”
  • As good as Survivor has been this ye
    ar, I’ve really missed our friend the tarsier. So I keep rewatching this amazing video:
  • 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.