It’s time once again for a collection of links, brief announcements, and other reality TV show and industry news that stood out to me over the past few weeks.
News about reality shows and reality show stars
- Unreal‘s second season will depart from the series that inspired it, The Bachelor, by casting a black bachelor as the star of Everlasting.
- Playwright Annie Baker reveals that she worked as a handler on The Bachelor during some unidentified season when the women were staying at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. She told Vulture she quit because producers “told me to tell all the girls that they could sleep in, and then the cameras came into the room at five in the morning,” and “they were so upset that I had lied to them inadvertently. So I left. I loved them. … I felt very protective of them.”
- Celebrity Big Brother’s rumored cast members include RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s winner Bianca Del Rio and contestant Willam Belli; Kourtney Kardashian ex Scott Disick; Octomom Nadya Suleman; and long-time reality TV star Vanilla Ice.
- Nyle DiMarco won America’s Next Top Model 22, the show’s final season; he was the show’s first deaf contestant and, therefore, first deaf winner. The final was the lowest-rated finale in the show’s history.
- A&E lawyers don’t want to give footage from Married at First Sight to Jessica Castro, according to the New York Post. She’s suing her former husband—who she met on the show—for harassment and stalking. A&E’s creative claim says that the “unpublished materials are protected against compelled disclosure by the reporters’ privilege” because the show’s footage is “newsgathering material.” Jessica’s lawyer told InTouch: “We are considering potential claims against the production company and network. We believe that in the quest for ratings, our client’s emotional well-being and physical safety were jeopardized.”
- Jeff Probst says Australian talk show host Rove McManus should host the Australian Survivor. Rove has been on location and participated in challenge rehearsals, and given Probst lines and jokes to use during Survivor challenges with balls. (Probst previously revealed that he’s using innuendo intentionally.) On Rove & Sam, Probst said: “If Rove’s not there in person, I’ll email him and say, ‘Alright, there’s a round disc and some balls, I need lines.’ He’ll just start shooting off one-liners to me and I try to remember as many as I can and then pull them out during the challenge and take credit for them.”
- Survivor‘s creation is continuing to spawn court battles. Conrad Riggs, Mark Burnett’s former business partner, put his company Cloudbreak Entertainment into bankruptcy “a few hours before a trial,” the WSJ reports. He’s being sued by former UPN executive Layne Leslie Britton who wants “at least $14 million in TV show revenue” because of his role in helping to bring Survivor to TV.
- Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller, who faces prison after being indicted on fraud charges, may not appear in every episode of the next season because of conflict with a producer who has “cockamamie ideas” about what the cast should do.
- The 15 documentaries that made the Oscar shortlist, announced Dec. 1 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
- The International Documentary Association announced its 2015 documentary awards. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst won for best limited series while Chef’s Table won best episodic series. PBS’ Independent Lens and POV tied for best curated series.
- A brief profile of Frontline‘s showrunners.
- Showtime has hired CNN executive Vinnie Malhotra to take on a new position: Showtime’s senior vice president of documentaries, unscripted, and sports programming.
- Chris Carney, 35, the lead singer of The Prom Kings who appeared on MTV’s short-lived twentyfourseven, died in a car crash.
- A heroin overdose killed Scott Marshall, winner of Ink Master, who died in late October.
- Vincent “Don Vito” Margera, star of Viva La Bam and uncle to Jackass star Bam Margera, died at age 59. He left TV in 2007 after being convicted of molesting two teenage girls.
- Josh Duggar is being sued by an adult film star for $500,000; her lawsuit claims Josh “physically assaulted her to the point of causing her physical and emotional injuries” twice.
- The Real Housewives of Orange County star Brooks Ayers admitted to “fabricating documents” to prove he has cancer. But he told E! News he is sick: “It would be a lot easier if I didn’t have cancer, just to be honest with you.” He recently tweeted “No more drama for me!” with the hashtag that said “reality TV is not real.”
- Top Chef season one winner Harold Dieterle is closing his two NYC restaurants and leaving the business, for now: “It’s gotten to the point where I’m not having fun and enjoying myself. I’m not saying I never want to return to the restaurant business, but right now, I’m feeling a little beat up and a little tired,” he told Eater.
- NBC is planning a live edition of its fun competition series Hollywood Game Night for New Year’s Eve, but it will be without two-time Emmy-winning host Jane Lynch. Instead, Bravo’s Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happens Live, will host the show. The easy-to-hashtag name of the special will be NBC’s New Year’s Eve Game Night With Andy Cohen, and it will air at 10 p.m. ET and be filmed at 30 Rock.Jane Lynch will return for season four, which debuts Jan. 5 and its celebrity contestants include Ciara, Geena Davis, Cheryl Burke, Melissa Etheridge, Alyson Hannigan, Justin Long, Jason Biggs, Helen Hunt, Marlon Wayans, Miranda Cosgrove, Laverne Cox, Raven-Symone, Brandon Routh, Yvette Nicole Brown, Kevin Nealon, Bill Engvall, and more.
- Tim Gunn said that Kanye West wears “expensive, dumb clothes” and said of the other Kardashians, “I don’t care what you wear as long as you don’t dress like a Kardashian. It’s vulgar, period.”
- The United States’ ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, has his own reality TV show, Jeg er ambassadøren fra Amerika, aka The American Ambassador. Vanity Fair reports that it includes things such as “bantering with his then boyfriend, now husband, veterinarian Stephen DeVincent, 56; being briefed at the embassy; lunching with the Danish defense minister (“It’s our job to help build an international coalition [in Iraq]”); learning Danish; singing a cappella about commerce with the trade minister to “New York, New York”; working out at the gym;” and more.
new and renewed reality shows
- CNBC renewed Jay Leno’s Garage for a second season, saying that the first season became “the most-watched freshman season in network history.”
- Ghost Hunters will get an 11th season and Paranormal Witness will get a 5th season on Syfy; both shows will air 13 new episodes next year.
- TLC renewed I Am Jazz for a second season.
- A&E’s Jan. 19 show called Fit to Fat to Fit has personal trainers “forcing themselves to gain weight” so they’ll be able “to better understand the struggles of their obese clients as they lose the weight together.”
- Pop is planning Celebrity Escape Room, on which “two celebrities and their friends compete by getting locked in identical rooms, and the only way out is to use their pop culture knowledge and work together to unlock the exit.”
- MTV might not want any more Snooki, but FYI does, so they’ve ordered Nicole & Jionni’s Shore Flip, which, yes, is a house-flipping show starring Nicole Polizzi and her husband Jionni Lavalle. The press release only uses the name “Snooki” in a subhead, and describes Nicole as “a reality TV personality turned interior design maven and entrepreneur.”
- WEtv is developing Basketball Moms, which follows “five Houston-area mothers whose sons play on rival youth basketball teams and dream of making it to the NBA.” The press release describes the women as “distinct personalities who bond and clash and find true friendship against the backdrop of being willing to do anything to help their sons succeed,” so it sounds like a combination of The Real Housewives and Friday Night Tykes.
- Fox will air 10 episodes of True Grit, which is hosted by John Cena and follow “four teams as they work together to face a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges.” Leftfield Pictures is producing.
- ABC Family, which is changing to Freeform next year, announced The Letter, which has “four people close to one another draw names and anonymously write to the selected person a thoughtful yet totally honest letter outlining what, in their opinion, needs to be changed in order to improve and transform for the better the life of the recipient.” The recipient has to do those things, “culminating in a dramatic and emotionally charged meeting,” the press release claims.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s nephew Bobby Dale Earnhardt is filming a reality television show that he hopes to sell to a network or distributor. He told Sporting News, “It’s different, to say the least, having the cameras follow you around and especially to see the reaction of other people and drivers around you. I’m not so sure the other drivers like it, but they’ll get used to it and it’s really good for the image of the ARCA Truck Racing program.”
- Bethenny Frankel has formed a production company, B Real Productions, and signed a deal with Leftfield Entertainment, which produced her show Food Porn for FYI. A press release said that the their “current projects also include Closet Porn and Cocktail Porn” and ”they will be developing and producing original projects that tap into Frankel’s passion and expertise in areas such as food & beverage, business, branding and lifestyle, amongst other genres.”
- A profile of Ryan “Seacrest and his unlikely transformation from a seemingly generic announcer” to someone with “media ubiquity.”
- An analysis of 95,000 words Donald Trump spoke over one week and a look at “his ‘mad as hell’ strategy.”
- Does the success of The Great British Bake-Off in the UK versus the relatively low ratings of The Great Holiday Baking Show on ABC come down to the UK’s appreciation of innuendo and the US’ lack of subtlety?