reality TV reviews and news

What reality shows should have celebrity editions?

In today’s edition of Ask Andy, I consider what celebrity reality shows should happen but haven’t yet been produced. But mostly, I hope we will one day get the long-awaited Celebrity Survivor.

Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris said he’d compete on a celebrity Survivor. (Photo by Bob D’Amico/ABC)

Celebrity reality shows

Love to pick your brain. I am a Celebrity Apprentice fan as well and I’m hoping NBC shows it some love and renews it. Do you think any other current reality shows could benefit from an all “Celebrity” season? Say Survivor or a small special season of celeb Big Brother? –Bradley 

First, I agree with both your suggestions. Four years ago, I wrote about why Celebrity Survivor would be great, and I’d still love a celebrity edition of Survivor. A few years ago Jeff Probst floated the idea of a week-long celebrity Survivor, and later expanded that to 10 days.

Neil Patrick Harris, who will be hosting the Oscars later this month, said he’d be in, and Probst sought other celebrity contestants, pointing out that they’d need a strong cast to get CBS to sign on. That’s absolutely right; it could not be the same group of people who hop from cable show to cable show; they’d need to be NPH-caliber. I’m concerned about the 10-day thing, just because I’m not sure a season one-third the length of others would work. But I also recognize how challenging it’d be to get celebrities to give up six weeks to fly somewhere and live on beans and rice.

Big Brother‘s social game would be terrific with celebrity contestants, and would be more likely to draw people, I think. (It works well in the UK, though of course, our Big Brothers are completely different shows.) While the series is more low-rent and not as well-respected, it’s filmed in L.A. and in real time, so celebrities could return to their lives upon eviction and not have to conceal results. I’d even be up for a crass, cross-promotional version. Why not put an entire cast of a CBS sitcom or drama into the house for three weeks?

Also, if only to cover all three of CBS’ big reality series, The Amazing Race would also be great, especially if the teams were well-known celebrity pairs (rather than just, say, celebrities paired with a loved one–though that could work too).

What else? A celebrity Project Runway would be interesting if the producers and network could find people and/or talk famous designers into competing. That might have limited draw for non-fashion fans, but it’d be fascinating to see.

I think it’d be fun to do an entire season of The Voice with celebrity contestants, blind auditions and all. I’m not sure what already famous singers would subject themselves to that possible rejection, but oh, would it be a trainwreck if, say, they rejected people they knew.

The creator of Whodunnit told me that it would likely be cast with celebrities if it returned, and that’s a change I wouldn’t mind, especially if the show fixed its other problems.

These are all competition shows, of course. What I’d really like is a cinema verite reality show starring celebrities–but one that is not stupid, soft scripted, and/or just fake. Again, I realize that it’s a hard sell to convince famous people to let cameras record their raw behavior, which is maybe why so many of their shows end up being so controlled. Since they’re not actual sitcoms with real writers and all of the other people needed to create a good comedy, they end up being badly acted and boring instead of insightful.

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