American Idol winner robbed; Idol runner-up winning election; Survivor’s Coach now a dad

News you may have missed this past week:

  • Ryan Seacrest has renewed his contract for another season of hosting American Idol, with an option to renew for another season past that, if the show lasts that long. All three judges will probably return, since Seacrest announced that auditions for next season will take place in their hometowns.
  • Clay Aiken’s run for Congress has resulted in a whole lot of opportunity to make American Idol jokes, because the Tuesday primary was so close it’s not yet clear if he won. (You may recall that his loss to Ruben Studdard was deemed tainted and unclean by Clay’s obsessive fans, especially after Ryan Seacrest gave differing vote totals during the finale. As of right now, Clay has 40.83% of the vote, which would be enough to prevent a run-off. But as CBS News reports, the election continues until Tuesday, when “the nine counties that fall at least partially within 2nd District will have concluded a certification of results that includes provisional and absentee ballots. The State Board of Elections will have to certify those results.” Clay wrote on Facebook, “This was a very close contest, and as we continue to count the votes, we are more and more excited about our campaign’s ability to move forward and be victorious in November.”
  • Armed men robbed American Idol winner Scotty McCreery and his friends at their apartment early Monday morning. He called it “definitely a very scary night” and thanked “the Raleigh PD for their quick response and hard work in solving this case.” A 19-year-old man was arrested while police are seeking other suspects.
  • HGTV cancelled plans for Flip it Forward, a show starring Jason and David Benham, because David was revealed to be an anti-gay, anti-Muslim activist. They responded with a statement that said, “As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying” and added they “were saddened to hear HGTV’s decision. … If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.” David told CNN that HGTV “got bullied.”
  • ABC unsurprisingly renewed Shark Tank, The Bachelor, and, perhaps more surprisingly but not really, Dancing with the Stars. The Taste remains in limbo.
  • The NFL won’t force a team to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks several teams have volunteered.
  • Regarding True Tori, Lifetime executive Eli Lehrer “disputes allegations that the series is staged.”
  • Amazing Race and Joey Graceffa signed with United Talent Agency “to create opportunities in film and television acting, publishing, touring, and music”
  • Survivor‘s Coach, aka Ben Wade, is a new father, and calls the experience “priceless.” He tweeted a selfie with his wife before she gave birth and a photo of his daughter after she was born yesterday. I spent post-Survivor time with Coach three years ago (before he filmed his third season) for this Playboy story, and he couldn’t have been more wonderful as a person, to me and to everyone he encountered. I’m sure he’ll make a great father.

Coming attractions:

  • The Discovery Channel announced today that it will air Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, which follows an American explorer who “traces the clues and gathers compelling evidence that suggests the students’ deaths [in Russia in 1959] could be the work of a creature thought only to exist in folklore.” And considering the network’s bullshit with its fake Megalodon documentary, I’m very skeptical. Especially since, you know, saying definitively in the title that the Yeti “lives” and is a murderer seems, well, like more bullshit.
  • A&E will air a Mark Wahlberg-produced series The Big Brew Theory, which follows MIT grad students who have a micro-brewery.
  • Whoopi Goldberg is working with 44 Blue Productions, which is behind A&E’s Wahlbugergs, to produce a reality series about her family.
  • Spike is creating another: Tattoo Nightmares: to Tattoo Nightmares Miami.

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.