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reality blurred: fake, satirical news every April 1. By Andy Dehnart
family guy
airport hell
I ♥ weavers
american karaoke
the apprentice 5
apprentice/cancelled
ugly bachelor
the boring 9
nerd herd sucks
fat farm 2
head injury 2
quasi-stars dancing
makeover: exploitative
the factor
hell's bitchin' 2
laguna bitches
making the brand
the mohel
redneck idol 4
drunken orgy
project sellout 3
project rungay 2
queer why
cereal world key west
challenged
old rules
mock star 2
the simpletons
middle-age survior
the career life 6
survivor exiled
tyra mail 6
trading faces

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Saturday, April 1

ABC fires Ty Pennington, producer from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

ABC has fired Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington and his producer because of events that transpired at a New Orleans shoot last week.

While workers installed drywall in a home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, Ty put on a yellow raincoat and hat, tripped the house’s fire prevention sprinkler system, and ran through the house screaming, “Oh my god! Look out! Here comes Hurricane Ty! Craaazy!” Later, he submerged himself in a kiddie pool and screamed, “Oh, you babies! Water’s fun!”

During the reveal of the house’s new kitchen, the family’s 14-year-old son said on camera, “I’m just happy to not have to live in a shelter anymore.” Ty’s producer pulled him aside and whispered in his ear, “That is not why you are happy, you little ingrate. You are happy because you have a brand-new kitchen courtesy of Sears. Sears! Now try it again.” Then she kneed him in the balls, turned to the camera crew, and said, “Oh, yes, tears! Action!”

Reached for comment, the producer said, “What was I supposed to do? Those pedophiles at Idol got the rights to Daniel Powter’s ‘Bad Day,’ so how else was I going to make the audience weep? Besides, no one even looked at or said the brand name of their beautiful new toaster oven. Can you blame me?”

The network has placed increased pressure on the show to up the drama in recent months, and has done its part to maintain viewers’ interest in the hit show by scheduling new episodes every nine weeks. The network would only say in an official statement that Ty left for “personal reasons” and to “pursue other opportunities” and that “ABC wishes him the best in his future endeavors back on cable.”

Off the record, an ABC executive said, “In no way do we condone the actions of Ty or the producer, although we do recognize that this episode placed special challenges on the production crew. By the time it airs, it’ll literally be months after Hurricane Katrina, and most Americans have already taken the President’s advice to not let the terrorists win by dwelling on the fact that their government failed them. Instead, people are now focused on more important news, such as the fact that their daughters might go missing during spring break.”

The family, brought in from Minnesota because producers realized that people in the hurricane-ravaged areas only look good on TV from helicopters, declined to comment except to say that they were grateful to the show for helping them realize that what was really missing in their post-hurricane lives was a new set of Craftsman tools.

Project Runway will be combined with Queer Eye for its third season

Bravo is shaking things up for the third season of Project Runway. The network will merge the show with Queer Eye, and the new show will officially be called Project Runway 3: Queer Eyes.

The series still be a fashion-based competition, but the Fab Five will replace Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and Heidi Klum. Tim Gunn will remain, however, and will ride shotgun in the Fab Five’s SUV as they pretend to drive around New York City. While the contestants are creating dresses, the Fab Five will give them makeovers and interrupt their work with comments that objectify them and make them self-conscious about not being superficial enough.

“After all these years of success, it’s time we started acting like a real network and fucking things up,” Bravo’s president said in a statement. “Plus, when we looked at season two, we realized that it just wasn’t as gay as we’d like it to be. I mean, this is Bravo. Also, we still can’t get over how fast Queer Eye exploded and then crashed and burned, and rather than just give up, we’re going to wreck another show too.” One producer told reporters, “In season two, our insecurity and lack of trust in ourselves led us to use editing, voice-overs, and twists to manufacture drama. This is just the next logical step.”

Asked for comment, Tim Gunn said, “We’ll make it work, people. We’ll make it work.”

FOX buying DialIdol, Vote for the Worst, and reality TV blogs to promote American Idol

News Corp., continuing to acquire popular online properties, has purchased American Idol-focused sites DialIdol and Vote for the Worst. The sites will be folded into the company’s MySpace community once the checks clear and/or FOX Security finishes their friendly visits with the web sites’ owners.

The plan, a FOX spokesperson said, is to let MySpace community members edit DialIdol and Vote for the Worst’s web sites with Thomas’ MySpace Editor, thus making the sites illegible and impossible to visit. “We’re positive that, once the text is fluorescent green on a background that’s an animated gif, and a Scott Savol song blares at top volume the second the page loads, no one will want to visit any more. They’ll be too busy having seizures. The threat will be neutralized—I mean, the fans will have control,” the spokesperson said.

The network is also acquiring seven unnamed reality TV-focused blogs, particularly those that post incoherent, poorly written recaps of FOX shows. Specifically, those that have journalism-sounding words in their URLs and regularly post press releases verbatim are being targeted. A FOX VP told reporters, “It’s so great to know that these blogs truly understand journalism and critical analysis. These are smart people, copying and pasting our press releases and posting them in order to sell Google ads, sneak into Google News, and inflate their BlogAds pageviews.”

“It makes perfect sense since they’re already basically an extension of our marketing departments. Now, we’ll be able to get our propaganda—I mean, ‘assets’—in front of more eyeballs. I love new media,” he said. The exec also said that there’s another positive effect. “With all the time and resources we spend trying to keep Paula Abdul away from the male contestants, we just don’t have time to read blogs any more to find out which contestants we need to build up or tear down.”

Other networks are planning similar acquisitions, afraid their shows will suffer in the ratings without the attention of blogs. Networks have also convented task forces and ad hoc committees to study other new trends like “podcasting,” “clicking on links,” and “watching shows that don’t suck.”

Reality TV producers band together to create a new genre of television

Fighting back against relentless criticism that they fake their shows and overwork their employees, the major reality TV production companies are abandoning their current slate of reality shows and are instead developing plans to produce a new type of TV show.

Because of the WGA’s relentless campaign on behalf of reality show editors and writers, which focused primarily on guild members being as annoying as possible, the production companies convened a weekend-long brainstorming session in the Big Brother house. “Once we got there, we were going to swim in the hot tub, but then realized that some kind of fungus with eyes and teeth was growing in it. Instead, we talked about our problem and quickly came up with a solution,” one participant said.

The problem, they realized, was that “it’s really hard, pointless work to stand around all day and film, especially if nothing happens,” as another producer said. “We realized how stupid we were being, working so hard to make reality look real. I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to ask stupid middle-class people to reshoot a scene over and over again and look natural each time? It’s like they have no fucking acting experience at all,” he said.

To avoid those kinds of complications, they unanimously decided to abandon reality TV and instead create a brand-new genre. As one participant explained, “It’s such an innovative idea. First, we’ll write down ideas. Then we’ll hire people to do those things in front of cameras. That’ll make our jobs so much easier, and we can go back to doing blow off Tonya Cooley’s vagina.”

The new shows will be called “written TV.” Casting producers will be working with George Washington University’s new “acting for reality TV” class, which the GW Hatchet reports “will teach methods for portraying several commonly-cast reality TV roles, such as ‘skanky alcoholic,’ ‘homophobic Southerner,’ ‘privileged JAP,’ ‘token black guy/girl’ ‘sullen hipster,’ ‘naive virgin,’ ’ flamboyant gay,’ and ‘overweight woman who eats her feelings.’”

Friday, March 31

Back to reality. Read the real news, or read past April 1 editions: April 1, 2001, April 1, 2002, April 1, 2003, April 1, 2004, and April 1, 2005



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