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Bake-Off is changing, and 25 other great reality TV stories from March

Bake-Off is changing, and 25 other great reality TV stories from March
A cake version of the GBBO tent and new season 14 co-host Alison Hammond (far right) with judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, and co-host Noel Fielding (Photo by Channel 4)

Good morning! With March almost concluded—where is this year going?!—it’s time for a round-up of this month’s reality TV news, with sarcasm and/or snark where warranted.

Stories this month range from the future of Fboy Island to Captain Lee’s future on Below Deck, and from Tyra Banks’ exit from Dancing with the Stars to the entrance of a new Great British Baking Show co-host.

This is a curated list of things I think are important, interesting, and/or entertaining, so by design, it’s not everything that happened in the world of reality TV.

But if you spot—or have written!—a story, I always welcome links and recommendations. Just send them to me any time!

March highlights

A person standing behind a small cake version of the Great British Bake-Off tent, with cake versions of the hosts and judges
New Great British Baking Show host Alison Hammond with a cake version of the tent and her co-host and judges (Photo by Channel 4)

The Great British Bake-Off is undergoing some big changes. First, it announced a new co-host, Alison Hammond, who will join Noel Fielding. Based upon this footage of Alison on GBBO’s Stand Up To Cancer special, she’s a fantastic choice.

Meanwhile, GBBO will be making adjustments for the upcoming season 14. A production insider told The Mirror that “We’re going to strip it back to basics, with a few twists.”

And Love Productions’ Richard McKerrow said on The Media Podcast that “the last series was not our strongest. You’ve got to take a look at it and go, ‘Shit, [are] the challenges too complicated?’ We’re looking very, very, very hard at making sure that it’s as good a series as it can be.”

He added, “when people are criticizing either the challenges have become too complicated or whatever, you know, that’s something we take seriously.” That’s remarkable! And please tell me this means no more theme weeks like the offensive embarrassment that was Mexican Week last season!

A colorful book cover with line drawings of cats and a tiered cake with cat decorations. The text says Bake me a Cat: 50
Purrefect Recipes for Edible Kitty Cakes, Cookies and More! Kim-Joy

Speaking of The Great British Bake-Off, finalist Kim-Joy previously released some super-cute cookbooks, but next month, she’s publishing this, and I cannot wait to buy/read/attempt to bake it:

March 2023 reality TV news

Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss is leaving the franchise, though this Variety story notes he “has not been involved with the day-to-day on the show for 10 years.” [Variety, 3.28.23]

Boring Bachelor Zach Shallcross broke his no-sex rule and then revealed that to Kaity—and cameras—without Gabi Elnicki’s consent. She called it “extremely violating,” and told Zach, “I just thought it was between us. I thought it was love. I thought it was more than a TV show. I get it, sex sells, but now I’ve become a narrative.” [People, 3.28.23]

A fascinating look at a new YouTube/reality TV trend: “Blind-dating cooking shows” [Washington Post, 3.27.23]

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jen Shah will now be released from prison in August 2028, one year early, after her sentence was reduced. [NBC News, 3.27.23]

The Traitors UK didn’t have a formal reunion, but the final five were on Claudia’s radio show in late December, though I only found it today! [YouTube, 3.24.23]

The final Below Deck episode for Captain Lee Rosbach—who I once interviewed about how real the show is—aired March 20, or at least it seemed that way based on the episode, as People reported. But then Captain Lee tweeted that he’ll be back on Bravo, and responded to People‘s recap saying, “They didn’t talk to me about this piece.” THE DRAMA! [CinemaBlend, 3.21.23]

Producers who work on The Kitchen and Trisha’s Southern Kitchen are unionizing at their workplace, BSTV Entertainment. A producer who’s joined the union said that they were converted to freelancers and “lost our health care, we’ve lost our job security, and our issues are really industry-wide across nonfiction television and food television.” [Eater, 3.20.23]

The Wall Street Journal has a fun Q&A with Guy Fieri, in which he talks about his daily routine, his hair, and what his parents taught him. And amazingly, Hunter doesn’t pop up and throw the whole thing off. [WSJ (Apple News version), 3.20.23]

Food Network renewed Superchef Grudge Match, which will return in early 2024 with eight new episodes hosted by Darnell Ferguson. The network said the competition “has reached more than [8 million] P2+ viewers to-date and is currently Food Network’s highest-rated freshman launch of the year.” [3.20.23]

Julianne Hough will co-host Dancing with the Stars, interviewing stars in the box, while Alfonso Ribeiro will move to the main floor and replace Tyra Banks as host. [Variety, 3.20.23]

Drag Race’s contestant Salina EsTitties reacted, during a performance, to judge Ross Matthews’ criticism. “You can eat my ass,” she said. “What the fuck does he know about fashion? … Look at what the fuck you’re wearing you sequined sweater jacket ass little bitch.” [Out, 3.19.23]

Tyra Banks is quitting Dancing with the Stars after just three seasons of bringing her “fresh take” to the dance floor. She told TMZ, “I feel it’s time for me to really focus on my business and my entrepreneurship, and also producing more TV—but behind the scenes.” [Yahoo Entertainment, 3.17.23]

The RuPaul-hosted game show Lingo was pulled from CBS’s schedule, replaced by other shows for its final four episodes. CBS noted the show “was recently ordered for a second season and the remaining four original episodes will be scheduled for next season.” Is that a way to just create a longer season two—one that might air during a possible writer’s strike? [CBS, 3.17.23]

Fboy Island, and a spin-off Fgirl Island, appear to be heading to The CW. [Deadline, 3.16.23]

Charity Lawson will be the star of The Bachelorette season 20 this summer, ABC announced. [3.15.23]

The Oscar for documentary feature went to Navalny, and the Oscar for documentary short went to The Elephant Whisperers, the first-ever Indian film to win in the category. [Oscars, 3.13.23]

Food Network Star Darnell Ferguson’s Louisville’s restaurant Tha Drippin Crab closed in January after less than a year, while his restaurant Superchefs closed last summer. He’s looking to reopen Superchefs, but said “I’m taking a break [from the restaurants]. I wanted to get through all this TV stuff, and we’re waiting for spring or summer to see what we’ll do.” [Louisville Courier Journal, 1.7.23]

Joy Gordo won the Casting Society of America’s Unscripted Casting Producer Spotlight Award, while and Goloka Bolte and Ethan Petersen won for casting RuPaul’s Drag Race. [3.10.23]

What’s it like at Schwartz & Sandy’s during “Scandoval”? Emily Yahr went there to find out: “A night out at ground zero of the ‘Scandoval’ reality TV earthquake.” [Washington Post, 3.10.23]

The first episode of the podcast The Big Break is HUSSLUP founder and CEO H Schuster’s interview with  Fenton Bailey, co-founder of World of Wonder, producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Million Dollar Listing, among other shows. If you don’t know the company’s history, or how they met RuPaul, it’s a fun listen. [The Big Break]

Anthony Anderson and Cedric The Entertainer are going on a “culinary adventure to discover the best [barbecue] techniques, flavors, and traditions” for an A&E series. [3.8.23]

Netflix has renewed both its golf and tennis reality shows Full Swing and Break Point for seasons that are filming now. Netflix says it is committed to “behind-the-scenes stories with the most popular athletes, teams, leagues and federations around the globe.” [Netflix, 3.7.23]

Vanderpump Rules’ Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix broke up after he cheated with Raquel Leviss, and this may just be the fewest number of words written about this on the entire Internet. [People, 3.4.23]

The Real Friends of WeHo is behind us, hopefully forever, but I missed this fascinating interview with one of its stars, Dorión Renaud, who said the show “was pitched to me as The A-List: Los Angeles, it would supposed to be a reboot of the series The A-List: New York.” He also says he had no idea it was being pitched as about gay men, since “I also have never confirmed or talked about my sexuality.” [LoveBScott, 1.27.23]

Celebrity Big Brother UK winner and Ex on the Beach UK cast member Stephen Bear is going to prison for 23 months for taking secret “CCTV footage of himself and Love Island star Georgia Harrison” having sex and uploading it to OnlyFans without her consent. [BBC News, 3.3.23]

reality blurred updates

An archive of other updates from reality blurred’s new home page updates section:

  • March 29: No Survivor or Top Chef recaps this week because of my schedule. Recaps return next week, though!
  • March 28: Just a reminder that you can find me on Instagram (@andydehnart) and Mastodon (
  • March 26: In his fourth podcast episode, Jeff Probst identifies his favorite Survivor moment of all time, which is this. Read my recaps of all his podcast episodes.
  • March 24: The Traitors UK didn’t have a formal reunion, but the final five were on Claudia’s radio show.
  • March 23: I’m really enjoying The Traitors Australia. Full review next week, but some early reactions: New challenges! Challenge tracksuits! The game’s speed! But the hotel setting, ick.
  • March 9: I’m thrilled the inimitable Hamsterwatch is covering Big Brother Canada for reality blurred! Read her coverage here
  • March 8: The first episode of the podcast The Big Break is HUSSLUP founder and CEO H Schuster’s interview with Fenton Bailey, co-founder of World of Wonder, producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Million Dollar Listing, among other shows. If you don’t know the company’s history, or how they met RuPaul, it’s a fun listen.
  • March 6: Finished The Traitors UK! Amazing season and finale—and the last three lines spoken during the season are one of my favorite moments of reality TV ever. Now to turn 4,500 words of notes into recaps!
  • March 5: I have three episodes to go on The Traitors UK! Really loving this season, and all of the tweaks to challenges. The game is so much more emotional! Season-long recap coming early this week…
  • March 4: Started watching The Traitors UK today. I thought it was a bit slower—and then episode four!!
  • March 4: Vanderpump Rules’ Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix broke up after he cheated with Raquel Leviss
  • March 1: Survivor 44 premieres tonight! Will it match the hype? Will all the identical cast tweets make any sense?
  • March 1: Coming today: My quarterly reality TV premiered guides. It’s time for spring!
  • March 1: Big Brother Canada is dumping live feeds for its 11th season, which premieres March 8. There’s a way to engage—I mean, enrage—your fanbase!

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