Josh Flagg’s grandma died; Bar Rescue, Celebrity Fit Club fakery; Bachelor re-creation

reality blurred's wrap-up of interesting things. (image by Shutterstock)

reality blurred’s reality TV wrap-up. (image by Shutterstock)

Time for our semi-regular round-up of recent reality TV news and stories. Know about something that I don’t? Please send tips or links to me any time.

  • Edith Flagg died at age 94 on Wednesday; she was best known recently for being the outspoken and hilarious grandmother of Million Dollar Listing L.A. star Josh Flagg, though she was a fashion designer who first brought polyester fabrics to the United States and is a World War II survivor who fought as part of the Dutch Resistance (and killed a Nazi).
  • SeaWorld finally admitted that Blackfish negatively affected its business, though it did not mention the documentary film by name and instead cited negative publicity about the whales it keeps in captivity.  Two days later, SeaWorld revealed it would remodel and double the size of the pools that it keeps its killer whales in. The announcement said that those “will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come,” so clearly the company has no plans to stop keeping whales.
  • Walt Disney World is closing the American Idol attraction earlier than it previously announced. Instead of early next year, the attraction will now close Aug. 30.
  • American Idol 2 finalist Josh Gracin is okay after posting what appeared to be a suicide note to Facebook. His manager tweeted on his account that “Josh is safe & with his family now.”
  • The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon has colorectal cancer, and will have his “final months of his life” filmed for a Fusion TV network “documentary project.” The network’s announcement said cameras will “document the powerful and emotional story of his fight in two battles — one against cancer and another for animal rights.”
  • A bar featured on Spike’s increasingly ludicrous and over-produced Bar Rescue gets to keep its liquor license. The Council Bluffs City Council refused to renew O Face Bar’s license because of the TV show, but a judge overturned that decision. The Daily Nonpareil reports Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division records say that “during the filming Matt Overmyer slapped one of his employees and one of his female employees assaulted another employee on the suggestion of Bar Rescue crew, and that “Matt Overmyer testified the scenarios were suggested and encouraged by the producers of the show. He also said that because of the show, business has declined at the bar.”
  • Mark Burnett wants an investor in his production company One Three Media, which is half owned by Hearst and produces Shark Tank and The Voice but not Survivor.
  • RuPaul is on the cover of AdWeek for being the queen of product placement; the story discusses product integration on television, including RuPaul’s Drag Race many integrations, including with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. RuPaul said: “The integrations allow us to advertise things in a way that’s sort of a soft sell. We do it in a way that’s clever, that doesn’t really offend the intelligence of the viewer. We have fun with it in a way that we know what we’re doing, they know what we’re doing–and we make it an adventure.”
  • Bon Appetit magazine will sponsor Bravo’s Best New Restaurant, which airs this January; two of its editors will serve as judges.
  • Magical Elves is casting for a new show defined as “a new cutting edge documentary series [that] is seeking amazing culinary students to compete for a chance to win a job cooking in a top Los Angeles restaurant.” The blog LALate uses that text to claim that Bravo is producing a spin-off of popular Top Chef challenge Restaurant Wars, but doesn’t note that it’s a public casting call, instead weirdly attributing that to “officials tell news,” whatever that means.
  • Awesome chef and Top Chef guest judge Roi Choi will star in his own CNN reality show. Earlier this year, when he appeared on season 11, I wrote that the show needed “more passion and emotion and heart and caring from Roy Choi and people like him.”
  • The Real World‘s second Chicago season is now being filmed
  • Bachelor in Paradise once again failed to capture footage of an affair between a cast member and a crew member, but this time producers re-enacted the events, which made it even sillier, if that’s possible.
  • The Dakota Boys, aka Fred and Dustin Hurt, won’t be on Gold Rush when it returns this fall; Fred wrote on Facebook late last month that he and Dustin “did not go along with every cocamainy idea the film people dreamed up” and suggests they weren’t paid enough.
  • Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond says that Celebrity Fit Club was “scripted.” In a rather self-aware but still image-enhancing interview with The Daily Beast, he said “I played the bad guy. That was all scripted. None of that was real. … I had to gain weight to even be on the show. I had to keep it between me and producers. I couldn’t tell the other cast members about it. And, like, I’m not mean at all. I’m the most approachable, laid-back guy in the world. I like to laugh more than anything else. But I thought that being the bad guy on TV would show me in a believable light to convince casting directors to put me in Breaking Bad, or Dexter, or Law & Order.” He also says his sex tape was fake and featured a stunt penis.
  • Teen Mom‘s Farrah Abraham is working as a stripper but insisted to E! News, “I’m doing research. A friend of mine works there and I’m researching. I’ve been trying out all the roles that make up a gentleman’s club, including cocktailing and dancing. There’s management and there’s cooking too. It’s job shadowing that I hope pays off. In the same way Jennifer Aniston researched her role as a stripper, that’s what I’m doing. It’s how I get the information to write my books and do my movies. Unfortunately, I’m not free to talk about what those future projects may be.”
  • Keeping Up With the Kardashians‘ stars think a person associated with the show is robbing them and won’t film season 10 in October unless the thief is/thieves are caught, according to TMZ.
  • Bravo’s Jersey Belle, which is about a publicist who lives in Alabama, was fact-checked by a newspaper.
  • It’s been 10 years since the world met Lauren Conrad on MTV’s Laguna Beach, a glossy reality show that looked like no other and produced a heavily scripted spin-off, The Hills. On her blog, Lauren Conrad reflected on the anniversary by offering advice to her 18-year-old self, and none of her advice has anything to do with faking one’s life on TV.

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.