Design Star cancelled; how Food Court Wars works; Probst’s favorite (Survivor) places

News you should know that you may have missed over the past week:

  • HGTV’s Design Star has been cancelled after seven seasons, according to judge Vern Yip, who said he’s “disappointed” but also said life is “about changes and change is not always bad.” The show had potential but wasn’t great in recent seasons, especially when it aired that weird all-star season.
  • Details about how Food Court Wars works were revealed earlier this year when an episode that just aired was filmed. The May 22 episode featured J’s Kitchen versus Kadook’s, and was filmed iIn March at The Mall at Sierra Vista. Those who were to attend the final battle were told to bring a book (because filming could take a lot of time) and were given 16 $1 tickets that they could spend at either or both venues. In other words, the money spent that determines the winner is actually provided by producers, and restricted to a finite amount. After the filming, the restaurants used for filming were “torn down” until after the actual broadcast, The Sierra Vista Herald reported.
  • The owner of Tootie’s Texas Barbeque died of cancer last week; her restaurant was recently featured on Restaurant Impossible.
  • Here’s the story shown on Survivor Cagayan‘s finale about Tony Vlachos saving his neighbor’s life.
  • The coach of the St. Louis Rams, Jeff Fisher, told the Post-Dispatch that despite being eligible, it’s “highly unlikely” his team will be featured on Hard Knocks. Fisher, whose team drafted Michael Sam, said, “I think this organization has a right to go through training camp with some normalcy.”
  • A composer for The Bachelorette talks about how he uses music to create characters producers want.
  • Room for Debate’s topic this week was The Bachelorette, and four contributors answered this question: “Does the show play into paternalistic fairy-tale marriage stereotypes, or is it inspiring a new generation of professional women?”
  • Amy Kaufman, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, was banned from the show’s event and calls because, she tweeted,”I’ve been told producers think I’m too negative. So my editor is stopping our coverage of the show until access is reinstated.” If that is why ABC shut down her access, that’s really unfortunate and stupid, but for the Times to declare it won’t cover a show because it doesn’t get access seems equally problematic. If the show is worth covering, it’s worth covering whether or not you get to interview its cast.
  • Jason Biggs mocked the dead Bachelorette contestant, and is unapologetic.
  • Reality TV stars who did porn after their appearances on reality TV, categorized based on the type of porn they did (soft core, gay for pay, et cetera).
  • Two cast members from MTV’s Are You The One?, John Jacobs and Dillan Ostrom, have created a dating web site, Poor People Date, that sounds like a joke (and has jokey trailers) but is apparently real. Its tagline: “Not everyone has money, but everyone has a heart.”
  • Big Brother winner Will Kirby was interviewed briefly on NPR last week, talking about tattoo removal in reference to fired New York Times editor Jill Abramson‘s tattoo of the newspaper’s logo.
  • Jeff Probst’s 10 favorite travel destinations includes many Survivor filming locations.
  • A doctoral student in Hospitality Administration at Texas Tech University is asking for your help via a survey about how reality television impacted your travel plans. It says it should take six minutes to complete, and is trying to gather data about “the importance of reality television to you and the likelihood that you would visit a location that you were first introduced to on reality television.”

Something to watch:

Watch his full, unedited remarks; there’s also a follow-up interview.

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.