There’s a hurricane in Florida, so it must be the end of August! Of course, I hope all those in Idalia’s path stay safe.
While I ride out the storm here in Central Florida, it’s a good opportunity to share the links and news I’ve curated during the past month.
This collection includes a Survivor who’s dating an OnlyFans content creator, a look back at The Osbournes, and a detailed examination of Big Brother’s product integration, plus announcements and news stories such a Bachelorette contestant whose Drag Race girlfriend says he faked his death.
During the month, I share some of these links in my weekly newsletter. If you’d like a weekly-ish e-mail from me, sign up right here on this handy form:
If you’d rather send me e-mail—especially if you read or spot something fascinating, send it my way! Self-links are welcome.
Must-reads: Top Chef host edition
I wrote about this New York Times profile of new Top Chef host Kristen Kish, but if you haven’t already read it, it’s worth reading in its entirety (unlocked, so you can read for free):
Former Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has given multiple interviews recently, discussing her decisiont o leave, but also the future, like the fact that Hulu has not yet renewed Taste the Nation. Here are two Q&As worth reading:
- Variety: Padma Lakshmi Opens Up About Leaving ‘Top Chef’ After 17 Years
- Los Angeles Times: Why Padma Lakshmi says ‘Top Chef’ TV cooking helped her home cooking
August 2023 reality TV news
Holy shit: Josh Seiter, who was on The Bachelorette and who was dating Drag Race’s Monica Beverly Hillz, is actually alive, despite his Instagram account saying he died at age 36. Josh now says what appeared to be a note from his family confirming his death on his Instagram was “a cruel joke … mocking my mental illness.” But Monica—who posted “RIP My honey” on Instagram earlier—told EW she thinks he faked his death: “this man is alive getting off on all of this shit.” (Please call or text 988 if you need to talk to someone.) [8.29.23]
A Below Deck Sailing Yacht crew member has detailed an assault and harassment by Gary King. Bravo and producers say they investigated; Gary King will be attending BravoCon this year. [Rolling Stone, 8.24.23]
This sounds like a joke, but apparently is not: Magnolia Network said it’s developing “the first ever nation-wide roller dancing competition series” produced by—here it comes—Chip and Joanna Gaines. The network describes it as “a nostalgic, family-friendly competition featuring the top roller-skating crews in America.” [8.23.23]
Former Chopped competitor Shalom Yehudiel, who was sued by women who said he assaulted him when they were minors, had one charge of sexual assault dismissed, but was soon after arrested at JFK airport trying to fly to Bangkok. He was later released, which the attorney for an alleged victim criticized. [The Record, 8.23.23]
The Bachelorette’s Charity rejected Joey Graziadei, and he will star on The Bachelor’s 28th season, ABC announced. Lather, rinse, repeat. [8.22.23]
The Bachelorette Charity Lawson chose Dotun Olubeko, after the SHOCKING AND SURPRISING return of someone she’d rejected earlier who found his way back to the set in Fiji!! 🙄 [8.22.23]
Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X’s Bret LaBelle (pictured above, second from right) was profiled because he’s 49 and in a relationship with a 23-year-old influencer, Chris Stanley, who goes by stanchris on TikTok and, uh, elsewhere. [The Advocate, 8.19.23]
Raquel Leviss quit Vanderpump Rules [Variety, 8.16.23]
The former sheriff featured on the first two seasons of A&E’s 60 Days In, Jamey Noel, had his home searched “related to allegations of public corruption, tax evasion, fraud and ghost employment,” the News and Tribune reported. He’s the former sheriff because he couldn’t run for a third term under Indiana state law. [News and Tribune, 8.16.23]
In this great piece, Tara Ariano looks back at The Osbournes to explore why celebrity family copycats fail, and also reviews the newest entry, Netflix’s At Home with The Furys. [Cracked, 8.14.23]
Top Chef alum Lee Anne Wong’s restaurant was among the many buildings destroyed in the Maui fire. Now she and Top Chef’s Sheldon Simeon are helping to feed the thousands of people whose homes were destroyed [Washington Post, 8.13.23]
Sound of the Police director Stanley Nelson, whose film is streaming on Hulu, talked about the film, and the presence of copaganda in our lives: “Visually it was stunning when you see the cop show intros cut together and you realize that during all our lives, we’ve seen hundreds of different cop shows, and the cops are good guys and concerned for doing the right thing for citizens. And for so much of the African American community, and other communities in the United States, that’s not what the police represent.” [Salon, 8.11.23]
Jeopardy! said it wouldn’t film the Tournament of Champions during the strikes in Hollywood, but it has approached past contestants about returning for other games this fall—and now they have to decide whether they’ll cross a picket line to do so. [Polygon, 8.9.23]
Below Deck bosun Eddie Lucas said in an interview earlier this year, spotted by NPR’s Linda Holmes, that the Bravo show’s producers demand that the crew parties together: “when we get off charter, and they’re [the producers are] like, ‘Oh, you know, go out, have dinner, have a good time.’ You’re like, ‘I’d rather just get some sleep’ and they’re like, ‘No, you’re gonna drink. You’re gonna drink and you’re gonna stay up until four in the morning, and you’re going to like it!'” [NPR, 8.12.23]
The Chrisley family—minus the imprisoned ones, so Chase, Savannah, Grayson, Chloe, and “Nanny” Faye Chrisley—have signed with Scout Productions to be filmed for a new reality TV show, because attention has paid off for them so well already. [8.14.23]
The Emmys have been delayed until Jan. 15, 2024. [Emmys, 8.10.24]
Tarek El Moussa building a 138-unit apartment complex by bulldozing a building people still live and are being forcibly evicted. The L.A. Times says “the current property owner was convicted in federal court of hiring someone to set fire to vacant units on the site, an arson that tenants say was part of a years-long illegal harassment campaign to force them to leave.” Tarek defended himself, writing, “The entire process has been and will continue to be handled according to the law, and the existing tenants will continue to be treated respectfully and lawfully.” [Los Angeles Times, 8.4.23]
A former reality TV host was indicted and arrested (again), this time for conspiracy to defraud the United States and deprive people of their voting rights. He pled not guilty, and compared himself to Jews being persecuted by Nazis. [The Independent, 8.3.23]
Two days after three of her former dancers—two from Watch Out for the Big Grrrls—sued her, Lizzo released a statement calling them “false allegations” and “sensationalized stories.” Lizzo is now represented by Marty Singer, the lawyer who’s also represented Bill Cosby, Charlie Sheen, Kim Kardashian, and many other celebrities. [8.3.23]
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath star Leah Remini sued the Church of Scientology, claiming “Scientology and David Miscavige have subjected me to what I believe to be psychological torture, defamation, surveillance, harassment, and intimidation, significantly impacting my life and career.” [NBC News, 8.2.23]
Jobs for those who work in reality TV are not plentiful right now, even despite the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes that have shut down scripted productions. A story producer told THR “this winter was extremely dead for reality TV,” while an editor said “I have never seen it this dry for unscripted. I know many people who have not worked in three to four months.” [Hollywood Reporter, 8.1.23]
Two of Lizzo’s dancers from Watch Out for the Big Grrrls have sued Lizzo and her dance captain, Shirlene Quigley, claiming “a hostile work environment and sexual harassment,” plus “religious and racial harassment, false imprisonment, interference with prospective economic advantage and other allegations,” NBC News reports. The lawsuit’s many claims include “how little regard Lizzo showed for the bodily autonomy of her employees and those around her, especially in the presence of many people whom she employed.” [NBC News, 8.1.23]
reality blurred updates
This is an archive of updates I posted to reality blurred’s front cover that are not included in the links above:
- Wednesday, Aug. 23: Happy 23rd anniversary to Survivor Borneo’s finale!
- Tuesday, Aug. 22: I wrote about Richard Hatch’s villainy for Primetimer, which is in the middle of its Villain Week, including a bracketed face-off
- Monday, Aug. 21: I love this Ultimate Reality TV Villains bracket from Primetimer, especially the labels (“Garbage: The Worst”)
- Monday, Aug. 21: No Claim to Fame recap tonight because there’s no Claim to Fame! The Bachelorette’s three-hour finale is filling Monday; the final two episodes of Claim to Fame will air next Monday.
- Wednesday, July 19: I’m honored to have won an Excellence in Journalism award from NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists for this piece I wrote last year.
- Sunday, July 17: I’m excited for the new RHONY, but will give it a few episodes before writing about it, if only because prior seasons always seemed a little more boring at their start.
- Saturday, July 8: Today is reality blurred’s 23rd birthday!