Chrisley Knows Best star wanted by police; Alaska State Troopers killed; NKOTB reality show

Here’s my weekly round-up of links to news and other things, now with sub-categories:

News you may have missed this past week

  • Two men who appeared on National Geographic Channel’s Alaska State Troopers were killed in the line of duty: Sgt. Patrick “Scott” Johnson and Trooper Gabriel “Gabe” Rich died Thursday while responding to a report that someone had brandished a firearm the previous evening.
  • Documentary filmmaker Daniel Anker died Monday of pneumonia from lymphoma treatment. As The New York Times’ obituary said, he was “a filmmaker whose sober documentaries brought unsensationalized narrative power to subjects including the trials of the Scottsboro boys and Hollywood’s treatment of the Holocaust.”
  • Kyle Chrisley, the 23-year-old son of Chrisley Knows Best star Todd Chrisley, is wanted by police. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina posted a notice asking for help in location Kyle, who they say “is wanted on charges of Criminal Domestic Violence and Assault & Battery 3rd degree” following a Feb. 24 incident when police allege he “struck his common law spouse, Angela Victoria Johnson, and threatened Johnson’s sister with a knife.”
  • A federal lawsuit against the Discovery Channel’s parent company and the production company behind Brothers in Arms has been dropped; the survivors of one of its cast members, Terry Flanell, sued when she was killed by a pyrotechnic device during filming of its opening sequence.
  • Joke writers for Joan Rivers’ E! show Fashion Police have been on strike for a year, and some of them talk to L.A. Weekly about their fight to unionize and be paid more than $610 a week to write 200 jokes. They also talk about Joan Rivers, whose comments about the striking workers were called out by the union as “reprehensible,” because she was “crassly stab[bing] them in the back.” Joan said about her former writers, “They’ve been striking; these poor shmuck writers have been out since April. You know, you want to go like, ‘You asshole, you’re stupid! Everyone get together. Calm down.’ Meanwhile, Fashion Police goes on.”
  • Oxygen is rebranding as a network that will be “targeting modern, young women” and its says its new programming “focuses on authentic and relatable characters with extraordinary stories that reflect the world of today’s young woman.” This is the network that currently airs Bad Girls Club.
  • WWE Network’s Legends House–which features wrestlers living together in a house and is airing online now, two years after it was filmed–is “very authentic,” Rowdy Roddy Piper said in a story about the series.
  • Start-Ups: Silicon Valley cast member Kim Taylor said the show was “a total disaster, but I’d do it again.”
  • The Las Vegas Sun has conversations with several Las Vegas-based reality stars, including Pawn Stars‘ Chumlee, The Girls Next Door‘s Holly Madison, and Bad Ink‘s Dirk Vermin.
  • Clay Aiken appeared on the Colbert Report this week to talk about his run for Congress.

Coming attractions

  • TVGN, previously best known for being home to Big Brother After Dark, will air Rock This Boat: New Kids on the Block, which will be eight episodes following the band as they cruise around with fans.
  • The production of Gloria Estefan’s Broadway musical “On Your Feet” will include a reality TV competition that will search for actors to play her on stage.
  • Musician George Clinton says that while he won’t be touring any more, he has other projects, such as “a reality show coming out with my grandkids.”
  • MTV will air a documentary this fall called Trans Teen, which will be hosted by Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox and follow four trans people ages 14 to 24.
  • This weekend is the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, and because it’s the organization’s centennial anniversary, the History Channel has produced a documentary for it that “chronicles the origin of the WHCA in 1914 and its evolution during the last 100 years,” the network said.
  • History is spinning off a game show based on Pawn Stars, and Pawnography is holding an open casting call this weekend.

Fascinating reads

  • An interesting look at hidden camera TV shows and films which concludes that Reality TV varnishes the truth with a gloss of slick production, scripted dialogue (‘I’m not here to make friends!’), and easily digestible tropes; by holding a two-way mirror up to society, hidden-camera films strip the varnish away to capture genuine human interactions at their most unguarded.”
  • Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie: The awesome reality series Lindsay ended this week, but if you’d like more behind-the-scenes with the actor, this 2013 profile about the creation of the film The Canyons is a must-read.

Something to watch

  • As The Wire recalls, this week marks the 10th anniversary of both Mean Girls and an SNL sketch, Debbie Downer, that also featured Lindsay Lohan. It still makes me laugh to the point of crying, primarily because of the way Rachel Dratch–and also Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, and the rest of the cast–breaks character and breaks down laughing.

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.