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Reality TV news you shouldn’t miss: October 2022

Reality TV news you shouldn’t miss: October 2022
The new RHONY season 14 cast at BravoCon (Photo by Bravo)

Happy fall! In this news round-up, I share links and brief updates about what’s happening in the world of reality TV. I also highlight pieces that I loved—along with plenty of sarcasm, skepticism, and/or snark when appropriate.

I’ll continually update this story throughout the rest of October, making it a one-page version of what reality blurred was like in its early days.

Please feel free to send me links or suggestions any time: just send me an e-mail message!

October must-reads

Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage
Mythbusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage. (Photo by Discovery)

A freelance reality TV producer writes about how our reality TV sometimes gets made in dangerous conditions:

From the Too Much TV Newsletter, I learned about this incredible story from The Innocence Project:

Here’s a fascinating interview with the creator of Survivor’s format, Charlie Parsons, who talks about the struggle to sell it as a TV show, and gives a lot of credit to Mark Burnett for what he brought to the U.S. version:

As you may have seen by now, The Great British Bake-Off’s Mexican Week was a wreck full of racist tropes, and Tejal Rao writes about how it “betrayed its own contestants, as well as its audience”:

October 2022 reality TV news

Sonja Morgan, Luann D'Agostino, Tom D'Agostino, Real Housewives of New York City
The Real Housewives of New York City’s Sonja Morgan, Luann D’Agostino, and Tom D’Agostino. (Photo by Greg Endries/Bravo)

Mike White cast two more Survivor: David vs. Golaith players in The White Lotus season two, Angelina “Is there any way I could have your jacket?” Keeley and Kara Kay, and they talked about their experiences in this fun interview. [Vulture, 10.30.22]

As part of WarnerMedia’s effort to destroy everything good about the company, CNN will no longer acquire documentaries or shows like Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy or, of course, the original, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. [New York Times, 10.28.22]

NeNe Leakes dropped her racial discrimination lawsuit against Bravo, but the dispute is not over: the two parties are now in mediation, she said. [Radar Online, 10.26.22]

Joe Reid talked to nine Survivor alum about the merge episode, from their thoughts to what happened during their seasons. [Primetimer, 10.26.22]

Baking It is returning to Peacock, but without host Andy Samberg and with Amy Poehler joining Maya Rudolph. Thankfully, the grandmas will return! Also on the schedule: a special NBC episode of Baking It with celebrities. [10.25.22]

A finished documentary about Kanye West has been trashed because of his antisemitic comments. Producers at MRC said in a memo “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform” and that “silence from leaders and corporations when it comes to Kanye or antisemitism in general is dismaying but not surprising. What is new and sad, is the fear Jews have about speaking out in their own defense.” [Variety, 10.24.22]

Prue Leith talks about being hired for and judging The Great British Bake-Off, among many other things in this interview. [New Yorker, 10.23.22]

Louis Staples looks at a core feature of reality TV shows, the confessional, and draws the connection between them and social media like TikTok [The Cut, 10.19.22]

Project Runway season 20 will be an all-star season—and include contestants from all seasons, all the way back to the original season 1. I hope/guess we’re going to forget about Lifetime’s perennially awful Project Runway All-Stars spin-off. [People, 10.16.22]

The brand-new cast of The Real Housewives of New York City season 14 includes former J. Crew exec Jenna Lyons, who had her own HBO Max show Stylish with Jenna Lyons. [Bravo, 10.16.22]

Luann de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan are gettin their own show next year: Luann and Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake, which follows them as they “take on tasks to boost morale and galvanize the town with new spirit.” [Bravo, 10.15.22]

Bravo renewed Below Deck Mediterranean (season eight) and Below Deck Sailing Yacht (season four), while Peacock renewed Below Deck Down Under (season two). [10.14.22]

Kaycee Clark didn’t get to compete in The Challenge: Ride or Dies nor Big Brother All-Stars, because she tested positive for COVID before both seasons began. [EW, 10.12.22]

Adnan Syed, whose story was told in Serial, was cleared of killing Hae Min Lee and won’t be prosecuted again after being cleared by DNA evidence. He spent 23 years in prison. [Associated Press, 10.11.12]

Food Network quickly renewed Bobby’s Triple Threat, which stars Tiffany Derry, Michael Voltaggio and Brooke Williamson, for a second season, saying it “is outperforming prior six-week (+16%) and year-ago (+6%) timeslot[s]” and is currently “Food Network’s highest-rated new launch.” [Food Network, 10.11.22]

RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race winner and Backstreet Boy AJ McClean will host a new show that calls itself “the first TV competition series changing the unrealistic standards in the beauty and fashion industry.” Casting for The Fashion Hero: A New Kind of Beautiful is now underway.

Willie Spence, American Idol 19’s runner-up, died after a car accident. He was 23. [Douglas Now, 10.11.22]

Swatch, the dog Project Runway contestants saw at Mood, has died at age 15. [TMZ, 10.11.22]

The Voice season 23 will be Blake Shelton’s final season, and he’ll coach alongside Chance the Rapper, Niall Horan, and Kelly Clarkson. The spring season probably means no American Song Contest. [NBC, 10.11.22]

Selling Sunset’s Mary Fitzgerald says “being on Selling Sunset has been good for our business” but also now “get[s] a lot of fake clients because of the exposure.” [Insider, 10.8.22]

An overview of “How ‘The Tom Green Show’ Broke Strange New Ground for Reality TV and DIY Comedy” [Collider, 10.8.22]

Tough Enough winner and WWE star Sara Lee died at age 30. [NBC News, 10.7.22]

NBC greenlit America’s Got Talent: All-Stars, which it says will have “winners, finalists, fan favorites and viral sensations from previous seasons” and “franchises around the world.” How is this different than America’s Got Talent?! [NBC, 10.7.22]

Bethenny Frankel sued TikTok, claiming it “failed to crack down on scam ads that used her videos to promote counterfeit products.” [Washington Post, 10.6.22]

MTV announced it’s renaming Siesta Key to Siesta Key: Miami Moves, which—wait for it—will follow some of Siesta Key’s cast as they move to Miami. [MTV, 10.6.22]

The Great British Bake-Off used racist tropes during “Mexico Week,” just as it did during “Japanese Week” two years ago. [NPR, 10.5.22]

Kim Kardashian will pay $1.26 million in penalties for posting on Instagram about a cryptocurrency without revealing she was paid $250,000 to promote it. [Securities and Exchange Commission, 10.3.22]

Kim Kardashian’s new true-crime podcast is out. Because this is not at all about her, it’s titled, Kim Kardashian’s The System: The Case of Kevin Keith. (You can read about his case here.) [Spotify, Oct. 3]

The NBC true-crime newsmagazine Dateline “has transformed itself into a podcast powerhouse, churning out several original series a year, all of which have been hits.” [New York Times, 10.2.22]

Producers who work on shows such as 90 Day Fiance for Sharp Entertainment want better working conditions. [Ashley’s Reality Roundup, 9.27.22]

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