Time for another unpredictably semi-occasional list of reality TV news and stories you may have missed over the past couple of months.
As always, please feel free to send links any time to news stories, videos, social media posts, or anything else you see that is reality TV related. I appreciate the contributions!
Reality TV shows in the news
- The channel H2 will become Viceland. The Vice-run cable network will launch in February with shows such as Ellen Page’s Gaycation, Eddie Huang’s Huang’s World, and Weediquette. Spike Jonze is in charge of development as the network’s creative director.
- What was the most-popular cable reality series this past summer? VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. The network says it was “summer’s #1 cable reality series among adults 18-49 and women 18-49,” both for same-day viewing and live + 3.
- Last Wednesday’s debut of The Profit, which followed the Republican presidential candidate debate, became CNBC’s “most-watched original series telecast” in the network’s history, with 1.9 million viewers. Among viewers 25 to 54, it was #2 behind American Horror Story.
- Yahoo has dropped its plans for an EDM DJ competition, which Simon Cowell was producing.
- Syfy cancelled The Bazillion Dollar Club after one episode, and the show is now looking for a new network.
- American Ninja Warrior producer Kent Weed explains why they were so cheap and just gave the $1 million prize to one person instead of both contestants who completed the Mt. Midoriyama course for the first time ever: “By the rules, the money goes to the fastest person. If there’s more than one finisher, the one with the fastest time gets it. As much as the money is a wonderful prize and life changing, he does get the great gratification. I don’t think he harbors any ill will about it.”
- Five teamsters “were charged with at least one extortion scheme, related to the harassment and intimidation in the spring of 2014 of Top Chef staff—including host Padma Lakshmi—while the popular food show was in town shooting episodes,” The Boston Globe reported.
- Sex workers filmed for A&E’s cancelled and exploitative 8 Minutes are suing the network and Relativity Media. BuzzFeed News reports that they “claim breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress” and two of the women, whose episodes were broadcast, “claim invasion of privacy.”
- A complicated legal fight over a share of Survivor revenue a consultant says he’s owed has been scheduled for trial in December.
- Kirsta Allen reportedly sued David Spade for $1 million over a reality show she pitched to him called “Frauditions,” which she said is similar to his TruTV show Fameless.
- Another helicopter crash during production of a reality show injured two people. The helicopter was reportedly filming either Destination America’s A Haunting.
- It’s been 10 years since Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, and Jessica Simpson told Page Six that if she re-watched the show now, “I would have a panic attack,”
- The relatively new Nonfiction Producers Association now says its membership has grown such that now, its 37 members produce half of all reality TV.
- What did we learn about Draper University on Startup U from its finale? Pando’s Sarah Lacy writes: “We just watched them get cheated out of a promise to learn how to start a company in Silicon Valley. Meantime, the rest of us learned something very important: At Draper University, it doesn’t matter if you actually build something, it doesn’t matter if you tell the truth about what you’ve built — hell, it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, or how hard you work. Ultimately, Draper is going to ignore all of that and just fund the rich white kid who looks and acts the most like him and is best able to parrot back his rhetoric about changing the world.”
New and renewed reality TV shows
- King of the Nerds may have been cancelled, but its producers, 5×5 Media, have teamed up with Bruce Campbell to produce a very similar show. Instead of nerds, however, it’s a competition for horror fans. The working title is Bruce Campbell’s Horrified (drop his name and it’s a better title), and Deadline reports the show “is being shopped to networks.”
- A popular mud and obstacle run, Spartan Race, is being turned into an NBC series produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, who produce American Ninja Warrior. The show has been casting for teams of five people who know each other.
- WEtv has ordered Driven To Love, a series that features host Ray J driving people in an SUV to different dates; he will “serve as their personal driver and wingman and provide insightful dating advice.”
- Skin Wars spin-off Skin Wars: Fresh Paint has been ordered to series by GSN after airing a one-off episode. The show is hosted by RuPaul Charles and features contestants from the show working as mentors with artists who are new to body painting; each episode will be self-contained.
- VH1’s network’s-name-is-in-the-title series VH1 Couples Therapy has ordered a spin-off: Family Therapy With Dr. Jenn, which will debut in 2016. Those will be celebrity families, including Dina Lohan and Michael Lohan, and mother/daughter pair Tiffany “New York” Pollard and Sister Patterson.
- Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars has been renewed for two more seasons by WE tv. In a press release, the network said that the third season had a 32 percent increase in viewers compared to season two, and WE tv president Marc Juris said the “two-season renewal is the direct result of the show’s incredible performance and the overwhelming fan engagement we see each week.”
- I Am Cait was renewed for a second season.
- Lucha Underground will return to El Rey next year; in a press release, network founder Robert Rodriguez complemented “the explosive combination of athleticism and storytelling [that] makes for such great television.”
- Outside Television will film and air Primal Quest, a 450-mile, 10-day expedition race held in North America. Watch its trailer.
- I honestly don’t understand TBS’ new Mark Burnett series America’s Greatest Makers, in part because there are so many damn buzzwords in the announcement. It’s a partnership with Intel and will also air across Turner networks, and here are excerpts from the press release:
“Innovators will be tasked with producing breakthrough technology that is built on the Intel® Curie™, a highly integrated hardware module that can power a range of wearable and smart connected consumer devices. […] Digital and socially driven content will kick off the early stages of the challenge leading up to the announcement of the semifinalists. […] Turner and Burnett will immerse viewers in the America’s Greatest Makers experience through long and short-form content presented across Turner’s multi-screen portfolio of leading brands. TBS’s chronicle of the high-stakes semifinals will be joined by an array of short-form, sharable content that will expand the storytelling to brands like TNT, Adult Swim, truTV, HLN, CNN and Bleacher Report. Produced in the style and voice of each brand, the short-form content will feature various lifestyle innovations that resonate with the brand’s particular audience.”
News about reality TV show stars
- Deadliest Catch cast member and Cornelia Marie captain Tony Lara died.
- Ink Master season four winner Scott Marshall died in his sleep. Producers Original Media said in a statement, “We’re tremendously saddened by the passing of Scott Marshall, a vibrant, creative spirit and talent who will be missed by the entire ‘Ink Master’ family. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
- Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller was “indicted on bankruptcy fraud and other federal charges for concealing income she earned on Dance Moms and related spinoff shows.” She pled not guilty and requested a jury trial.
- Reality show host, star, and former 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey funded a campaign to get recreational marijuana legalized in Ohio–but the twist is that only those behind the campaign, ResponsibleOhio, would be allowed to own farms. As BuzzFeed News reports, “That means the entire legal marijuana industry in Ohio would be controlled by a group of wealthy businesspeople, or what those opposed to the initiative are calling a monopoly, an oligopoly, or a cartel.” However, voters rejected legalization yesterday.
- “Inside The Duggars’ Deep Ties With A Once-Powerful, Now-Scorned Ministry.”
- Pawn Stars star Rick Harrison endorsed Marco Rubio for president even though, as he told CNN, “When you endorse a Republican, everyone sort of frowns on you. I don’t know why, but hey.” He also repeated a transphobic myth about restroom usage while complaining about “these massive liberal PC police” who “don’t see the law of unintended consequences.”
- The star of Mun2/NBC Universo’s Larrymania, Larry Hernandez, was arrested on kidnapping charges. He was released on bail and said in a statement, “It’s important to reiterate that, as a result of the legal process I’m going through, my lawyers don’t allow me to give interviews or statements regarding the case.”
- Storage Wars Miami cast member Kevin Pew’s 23-year-old son was arrested and charged with the murder of a 19-year-old woman during a viewing party for the show at their home.
- This Q&A with Donald Trump has so much hilarious lunacy that it has to be read to be appreciated.
- Heidi Klum and Zach Posen both stepped on a rusty nail on Project Runway‘s set and went to the hospital. But no one has yet explained why there was a rusty nail on the set that both of them were able to step on. (The show is no longer being filmed at Parsons.)
- New Love and Hip Hop Hollywood cast member Milan Christopher, an openly gay rapper and model, talks about using the show to introduce his relationship to the world: “I wanted to come out because we were living a life where no one really knew what we were doing, thinking we were just friends. I wanted us to be in a full-fledged relationship, so I kind of used ‘Love and Hip Hop’ to get him to that same space.”
- A consultant on I Am Cait, Jenny Boylan, wrote a thoughtful essay about the responses to the series. She writes, in part, “To those who suggest that she is too privileged, or too white, or too wealthy, to be typical, I say, you are right. She has lived in a world that I can barely comprehend. But here’s the bargain: her family’s fame brings visibility to the lives of all our people, and CJ is dedicated to using that visibility for good.”