Recent reality TV news headlines
- Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino pleaded not guilty to tax evasion charges after being accused of “failing to properly pay taxes on nearly $9 million in income,” NJ Advance Media reported; he and his brother were charged “with conspiring to defraud the U.S. and filing false tax returns for the years 2010 through 2012.” He asked for his arraingment to be postponed so he can film WE tv’s Marriage Boot Camp from Oct. 5 to 19.
- In related news, WEtv announced the cast for the next season of Marriage Boot Camp, and The Situation is not listed, either because they wanted to keep his participation a surprise or because he may not be able to participate. The network is continuing what’s worked well for VH1’s Couples Therapy by casting reality stars: Survivor winner Tyson Apostol and Rachel Foulger, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, Aviva and Reid Drescher, Natalie Nunn and Jacob Payne, and Syleena Johnson and Kiwane Garris.
- After ratings slid significantly last season for The Real Housewives of New York City, Bethenny Frankel will return to the cast. However, it’s apparently not locked in for sure yet. She told a radio show, “I haven’t signed anything. I have a great relationship with Andy Cohen and the housewives, and they’ve asked me to come back for years.”
- A judge ordered Bethenny to stop wearing her daughter’s pajamas, saying, “It’s not a joke. Her child is not a joke.” In May, she posted an Instagram photo of herself in 4-year-old Bryn’s clothes with a caption that asked, “Think we’re ready to start sharing clothes yet?”
- Top Gear‘s crew had to leave Argentina because of protests over a license plate: ITV reports that the show “used a Porsche with registration H982 FLK — suggested by politicians and army veterans in the country to be a veiled reference to the 1982 conflict” (the Falklands War, which ended with Argentina surrendering and returning territory to Britain).
- A Naked and Afraid cast member, Phaedra Brothers, claims that “basically the production poisoned her” because she got sick eating food offered by an Indian crew member; on-screen, the show wrote off her illness as related to drinking untreated water. She said she contacted the network and producers but claims they told her, “said that if I said anything other than the storyline they picked, they would delete my online comments.” (How exactly would that happen, unless she was only commenting on Discovery-owned property?)
- Survivor‘s second cast-off, Val Collins, makes a compelling case for the producers creating an “unbalanced” tribe that left them at a disadvantage in physical challenges; “Our tribe was horrible. Our tribe was crap,” she said.
- How much people in Hollywod make, from network presidents to publicists to reality TV show cast members.
- Donald Trump wrote a note to the New York Times on the actual newspaper, complaining that its interview with Clay Aiken did not mention The Apprentice. An editor uses that opportunity to write about how “The Donald has been a critic of the magazine’s reporting on The Donald (or lack thereof) for nearly two decades.”
- Speaking at the University of Rhode Island, Tim Gunn revealed a terrible pitch for Project Runway product integration: “At one point we had a detergent [company] who wanted to dress Heidi [Klum] up as a detergent bottle.” He also complemented the show’s cast: “I’m in awe of the designers. When you hear it said that we have one day for a challenge, it’s really about 10 hours. I keep reminding the judges of that. Even when the work isn’t great, it’s miraculous that it happens at all.”
- Seth Grossman, who coincidentally has a fictional movie out about reality TV, wrote an essay for Gawker about the eight episodes of Intervention that he field produced. His most interesting revelation is that the show’s production company offered free therapy for its producers because of what they experienced while documenting addicts’ lives. Otherwise, the “tricks” he discusses aren’t that interesting or surprising, and are mostly good interviewing techniques written to sound like they’re evil. As to the most damning trick, writing lines for interviewees, he admits that he never fed scripted lines to Intervention cast members.
- Jersey Shore and Party Down South creator and executive producer Sally Ann Salsano talks about the acquisition of her company, 495 Productions, by FremantleMedia, part of the consolidation of once-independent production companies under several larger, international players. She says the consolidation is “good” because “there was so much competition that the feeling was that everyone was your archenemy. The truth of the matter is, all of us in the reality genre are friends. … You want to hang out with these people and you can learn from each other. We’re more peers than competitors, so it makes sense.” She also said that producers now have a harder time getting her type of show made: “Back in the day they actually used to give you the resources to find the people and do the pilots correctly. …There’s more of an onus on producers — and you spend more money — to try and get something off the ground. That doesn’t mean it’s going to get off the ground, but you certainly spend a lot more money trying.”
- Two interesting reads about a recent Daily Show segment that featured a debate between Washington Redskins fans who don’t want the name to change, and Native American activists who do want the name changed. First, The Washington Post reports that the fans featured tried to exclude themselves after it was taped. Their lawyer sent a producer a letter saying they appeared based on “intentionally false” statements made by producers. Next, a piece by a member of the Native American comedy troupe that confronted the fans during the segment; it explores what happened behind the scenes. However, what happened afterwards, at a game, might be most interesting, and is teased in the headline: “I’ll fucking cut you.”