At the end of last month, when I published my August reality TV news round-up, I was riding out a hurricane.
This weekend, I’m riding out my first bout with COVID, and its accompanying congestion and exhaustion. I’m so grateful for the vaccines that prepared my body and made this a mild case. (Don’t forget to get your updated vaccine this fall; it’s still free even if you don’t have health insurance.)
In this collection are lots of news items, including many, many renewals; some great reads; and more. If you read or spot something fascinating, please send it my way! Self-links are always welcome.
During the month, I share some of these links in my weekly newsletter, and if you haven’t yet joined us there, sign up right here:
Jeopardy! champion Amy Schneider has a new book out, In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life, and two reviews highlight how, as her editor told the Wall Street Journal, “She articulates ideas around sex and sexuality, sexual identity, experimentation with drugs that I think will surprise a lot of people”:
- WSJ: She Won Over America on ‘Jeopardy!’ Now She’d Like to Reintroduce Herself.
- LAT: ‘Jeopardy’ vet Amy Schneider runs the board on drugs, polyamory, transphobia and more
EW’s Dalton Ross uses his Survivor access for a fascinating piece that details how six of Survivor 45’s players were cast:
I recommend Lyz Lenz’s essay about Ashton Kutcher analyzes his behavior, linking his reality show Punk’d to his recent support for convicted rapist Danny Masterson:
September 2023 reality TV news and links
The UK show Naked Attraction and its fully nude contestants are on Max now, and The Daily Beast’s Fletcher Peters argues that it “is the opposite of the uber-popular Love Is Blind—which is for the better” because it “feels simple and unpressured, all while destigmatizing the act of being naked around new sexual partners for both the participants and us viewers, too.” [The Daily Beast, 9.29.23]
Joe Manganiello will host Deal or No Deal Island, which NBC describes as “a spin on the classic game where 13 players are transported to the elusive Banker’s private island to compete for cash in a season-long, fully immersive competition.” One rumored contestant: Survior’s Rob Mariano, according to Inside Survivor. [9.27.23]
The Real Housewives of New Jersey stopped production after Jennifer Aydin and Danielle Cabral got into a physical alteration. [People, 9.26.23]
Dancing with the Stars will premiere as scheduled now that the WGA has a deal with the AMPTP, and the strike will likely soon be over. Earlier: ABC will probably delay Dancing with the Stars, now that the actor Matt Walsh (from Veep) is “taking a pause” from the show until the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes are resolved. One WGA picker had a sign that says “Matt Walsh: Don’t dance as a scab!” But SAG itself says it’s fine. [People & Variety, 9.25.23]
Love is Blind creator Chris Coelen insists producers had no idea they’d cast exes. [People, 9.23.23]
The Love Is Blind’s new twist sounds like the producers are entering their desperate-for-drama phase. Laura Bradley breaks down what’s new (assurances that the cast’s mental health is being cared for!) and discusses how the Netflix show “is getting better and better at setting up new emotional landmines.” [Daily Beast, 9.23.23]
Top Chef Wisconsin, Kirsten Kish’s first season has host, has finished filming. [9.23.23]
NBCUniversal exec Frances Berwick told reality TV production companies that they must “deliver an expanded alcohol-related training to the cast, crew and production team,” offer mental health care after filming and during airing of a show, “ensure that all talent and crew agreements have confidentiality language that carves out reporting of unlawful conduct.” Deadline says nothing about who will pay for all this, or why it’s the production companies’ responsibility alone, and I think we should should still do unions. [Deadline, 9.22.23]
Ken Burns was photographed with embattled Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and David Koch, and a spokesperson explained that in a statement by saying, “Ken was stopped and asked to take a photograph with a Supreme Court Justice and David Koch, who was a supporter of public television and would later provide some funding for his film, The Vietnam War.” [Hollywood Reporter, 9.22.23]
The Golden Bachelor made its cast stay up for 11 hours straight overnight, finishing the rose ceremony at 6:34 a.m. Bravo to them: I couldn’t stay awake that long! [Variety, 9.21.23]
America’s Got Talent is spinning off yet another show: AGT: Fantasy League, which NBC says will have “winners, finalists, viral sensations and fan favorites from America’s Got Talent and Got Talent franchises around the world.” So, you know, exactly like AGT is already. The difference: the judges will choose acts to mentor, like The Voice. Zzzz. [9.21.23]
HBO said Telemarketers, its great four-part series, was “the most-watched HBO documentary series (non-sports) in over two years, with 1.9 million average viewers per-episode,” while the New York Jets season of Hard Knocks “averaged 4.4 million viewers per episode, scoring the largest audience for the series in 13 years (since 2010), which also featured the New York Jets.” [9.20.23]
Selena Gomez says she was “very against” the idea of the Apple TV+ documentary My Mind and Me at first, but then opened up to it: “I felt like I got to say things that I’ve been keeping in for years. It’s very hard for me to watch. I will never watch it again, but I’m very proud of it.” [Hollywood Reporter, 9.19.23]
Jody Kelly, who ran The Amazing Race 16 with her granddaughter Shannon, died Sept. 5 at age 85. [Austin American-Statesman, 9.15.23]
The Surreal Life is returning and changing networks, from VH1 to MTV. The new cast: Macy Gray, Chet Hanks, Ally Brooke, O.T. Genasis, Kim Zolciak, Johnny Weir, and Josie Canseco. [9.13.23]
ABC announced the cast of the new Dancing with the Stars: Tyson Beckford, Xochitl Gomez, Alyson Hannigan, Harry Jowsey, Charity Lawson, Ariana Madix, Jason Mraz, Adrian Peterson, Lele Pons, Jamie Lynn Spears, Mira Sorvino, Mauricio Umansky, Matt Walsh, and Barry Williams. How many “stars” do you recognize? I was surprised that it was 10 for me! [ABC, 9.13.23]
Rita Ora will judge 2024’s The Masked Singer season 11 alongside Ken Jeong, Robin Thicke, and Anti-Vax Sally, while Nicole Scherzinger judges the UK’s version of the show while performing in the West End production of Sunset Boulevard starting this month. [9.13.23]
The Brady Bunch house, featured in HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation, has been sold. HGTV listed it for $5.5 million; it sold for $3.2 million. HGTV paid $3.5 million for it. Oops. [Los Angeles Times, 9.11.23]
Drag Race is doing its own Winter House, which will be called Slaycation, and have six queens from international versions of the show living together in a house in Canada. It’s produced by World of Wonder, which says “six, fabulous, larger-than-life queens” will “vacation together at a Canadian winter cabin.” [9.11.23]
Andrew Shayde, who competed on The Amazing Race 3 with his father Dennis, is back on CBS’s Buddy Games, after signing up three of his friends to compete with him. [The Seattle Times, 9.8.23]
The Australian Lego Masters’ seventh season will be Australia vs The Rest Of the World, with four teams from Australia and four teams from other shows. [Nine, 9.7.23]
The Great British Bake-Off is returning to “traditional” theme weeks, and dumping ones related to nationalities or regions—i.e. they’re not going to do casual racism again. Executive producer Kieran Smith told The Guardian, “We didn’t want to offend anyone but the world has changed and the joke fell flat. We’re not doing any national themes this year.” [The Guardian, 9.1.23]]
Top Chef Seattle’s obnoxious contestant John Tesar was removed from his restaurant at The Laguna Cliffs Marriot Resort and Spa, which will now rebrand it, because of his violent confrontation with striking workers in which he broke a person’s drum and yelled, “Take your union and shove it up your ass,” among other things. [Page Six, 9.1.23]
Bachelor Matt James’ mom, Patty, who’s 70, is one of the women on The Golden Bachelor [L.A. Times, 8.31.23]
Claim to Fame’s clue wall contains red herrings that point to no one, according to producer Eric Detwiler, who also said there are an equal number of clues for each player, and said producers try to “try to our best to level the playing field on the clues to make them as even as possible. But it’s a highly subjective thing.” [Parade, 8.30.23]
Claim to Fame season 2 winner Gabriel knew Donny Osmond was Chris’s celebrity relative from the “teen idol in the 70s” clue, though the editing didn’t show us that, making us think no one figured out Chris until the end. [USA Today, 8.28.23]
reality blurred updates
- Friday, Sept. 29: The cold I had turned out to be COVID, and while I’m fine, I’m barely functional, so recaps will have to wait! Thanks for your patience over the next few days as I recover.
- Thursday, Sept. 28: Amazing Race recap coming late today, and a Golden Bachelor recap/review tomorrow
- Tuesday, Sept. 5: Happy 22nd anniversary, The Amazing Race!
- Friday, Sept. 1: I’m taking a few days away from the laptop, so my Challenge USA recap will come next week. Have a terrific weekend!
- 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”)