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April 17, 2014

reality shows

The History Channel dilutes its brand with even more reality shows

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 2nd 2009 9:30AM
Ice Road TruckersI can't even blame the cable networks for this anymore. The History Channel is expanding its repertoire of reality programs as a direct response to the record ratings they've seen with the ones they have now. What do we expect them to do when we don't show up to watch until they throw Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars at us? Apparently, we don't want history on the History Channel.

They've heard us, which is why The History Channel is bringing us more reality, starting with a spi-off of the aforementioned Truckers. Extreme Trucking will travel the world looking for the most treacherous roadways anywhere, and the brave men and women who drive them.

We can also look forward to traveling the US with Pickers, as people hunt for rare artifacts. And we'll get down and dirty with a 61-year old feud at a North Carolina NASCAR track with Madhouse. Even more unusual is Sliced, a series where objects are cut in half so we can see what they look like. Hey, if they cut a tree in half we can look at the history of it!

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Mary Murphy's Rules for What Not To Do

by Nick Zaino, posted Oct 1st 2009 9:00AM
So You Think You Can Dance judgesI've said before that So You Think You Can Dance is one of the few reality shows that I actually like, despite the fact that I'm not really one who appreciates dance as an artform. It's a show that I don't think exploits its contestants or talks down to its audience, and that seems to take its subject matter more seriously than, say American Idol or other talent shows. And last night's show was more proof for me.

On American Idol, we often hear that the more insulting advice from the judges is a form of tough love, and in some cases, they have a point. Some people think they can sing and just can't, and need to be told. And there are similar scenes on So You Think You Can Dance, and similarly, some people stomp off convinced that they are "it" instead of, well, something that rhymes.

But So You Think You Can Dance is much more up front and even aggressive about telling people how they can grow. The system is better - if you show promise but the judges aren't sure, you go to the "choreography" phase and you are shown fairly empirically what your faults are, and most contestants seem happy for the knowledge, and many of them do come back.

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It's really great to work at Chelsea Lately

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 10th 2009 5:02PM
You get two different things in this clip from Chelsea Lately. In the first half, Chelsea Handler dumps on the people from a VH1 reality show (I think she says Real Enchant though I'm not sure - maybe she means Real Chance of Love?) who filmed an episode at her show, and in the second half she shows what life is like for the staff at the late night E! show. It involves massages and free babies! (Probably NSFW.)

Side note: Handler looks different. Not just the clothes that make her look like a waiter, but her hairstyle. She looks like another celebrity and I can't think of which one.

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Is it wrong that I don't hate ABC's Crash Course?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 29th 2009 3:35PM
ABC's Crash CourseABC's newest stunt game show Crash Course looks exactly like the kind of show that bloggers and critics watch just so they could put their "Suck Extinguishers" to good use.

And yet 45 minutes of TV viewing later, I'm not even feeling the need to break the protective glass. On the surface, it appears to be just another reality/game show with typical contestants having their ids scared for life for cash and/or prizes and most of it is just that.

And even though it met those stereotypical expectations, I still didn't hate it. Part of me actually kind of (gulp) enjoyed it. Did I just swallow my brains along with my pride?

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New TV Land promo will make you sad, angry and maybe a little sick

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 4th 2009 5:01PM
TV Land logoSo I was watching The Andy Griffith Show marathon that TV Land seems to air every other day. This isn't my complaint, as I would watch that show every day of the week (as long as they're the black and white episodes and not the color ones, but that's another rant). No, my complaint is about the commercial that ran during the marathon.

The promo isn't online so I'll have to describe it. The narrator talks about how times change (with a montage of how phones have evolved over the years), how tastes change (a montage of different foods that people have eaten over the decades), and how we've changed (a montage of different hairstyles you might have had since you were a kid). The point of all this is that things change, but ... change is good! And that's why it's good that TV Land has a bunch of reality shows instead of classic TV shows, because things change and that's where viewers are now in their lives.

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Reality shows for people who hate reality shows

by Nick Zaino, posted Jun 26th 2009 1:04PM
So You Think You Can DanceI'm not a fan of reality shows. I know that's not a bold statement to make, and that reality shows are a fairly easy target. But I think they're boring after the first episode, for the most part. You pretty much know how it goes from there. Which one of the needy, self-esteem deficient bachelorettes the arrogant bachelor ends up with doesn't interest me (nor the opposite - which arrogant idiot catches the fancy of the bachelorette). Talent shows are usually just as bad, preying on their contestants' desperate need for recognition, and with wildly erratic and cynical judging.

So it's a surprise to me that there are two reality shows I actually do enjoy. There is The Amazing Race on CBS, which is currently in between seasons, and So You Think You Can Dance, which is in the beginning third on Fox. Generally, I don't feel stupid watching these two shows. I don't feel like I'm wasting my time. In fact, every once in a while, I feel like I'm learning something.

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Topanga dishes on Jon & Kate

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 16th 2009 12:11PM
One of my TV guilty pleasures is Boy Meets World, the 90s sitcom on ABC. I know, I know, it was lumped into all of the other TGIF shows, but it was actually quite good. Anyway, Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga on the show, now hosts a Talk Soup-like show on Style Network called The Dish. Here she sends a reporter to the NBA finals and then has something to say about a scene from Jon & Kate Plus 8. (Video also here.)

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It's TV Turn-Off Week (yes, again)

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 20th 2009 9:05AM
Yup, it's that time of year again, the week when we're supposed to shut off our TVs (and computers, I assume) and go outside and get some fresh air, maybe eat a salad.

I mention this every year, and it has gotten to the point where it would be ridiculous to give the opposing viewpoints yet again (but you can read them here and here). Suffice to say, we think you should leave your TV on this week (and in September - there's a TV Turn-Off Week then, too - when the new fall season starts!). If you don't, you're going to miss some cool stuff.

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Oh joy: more reality shows and makeover shows coming to TV Land

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 13th 2009 7:19PM
TV LandTV Land just keeps drifting further and further away from what they originally were. It wouldn't surprise me if some day we see them change the name to Reality Land and all of the older comedies and dramas dragged over to Nick at Nite.

The network has announced a few new reality shows, including one that they call an "anti-makeover" show. If it's truly anti-makeover, it will be a scripted comedy, but I'm sure it's really just another damn reality program. They have also announced a third season (gah) of High School Reunion. Guess all the people in their 40s and 50s like these things, though as someone in my 40s I'd just like to say HEY, YOU KNOW WHAT, TV LAND? I DON'T WANT TO SEE MORE REALITY SHOWS AND MAKEOVER SHOWS, EVEN IF THEY ARE "ANTI."

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Do you remember when Bravo wasn't horrible?

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 6th 2009 5:02PM
Got a press release from Bravo the other day that says they've not only given the green light for a third season of Shear Genius, they also have a new reality show coming up titled Double Exposure. I'm not even going to tell you what world the show is set in because you can probably pretty much tell from the title.

Do you remember when Bravo wasn't completely infested with reality shows? Sure, Top Chef is a good show, but the channel is practically all reality shows now, and most of them pretty lame (if not despicable). We've had Hey Paula, which showed Paula Abdul stumbling through her life. We've seen The Real Housewives of Orange County turn into some sort of ever-growing franchise. And let's not forget Tabatha's Salon Makeover, Manhunt, Make Me A Supermodel, Blow Out, Millionaire Matchmaker, Showbiz Moms and Dads, and...well, about 40 others.

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Jerry Seinfeld doing a reality show about marriage? Dear God, no!

by Jane Boursaw, posted Feb 26th 2009 8:02AM

Jerry Seinfeld creates It's not a show about nothing, but Jerry Seinfeld is coming back to your TV set. This time, he's exec producing an NBC reality series about marriage problems. Only it's not a drama, it's a comedy.

The Marriage Ref will feature celebrities, comedians and sports stars offering their advice to real-life couples in the midst of marital woes. Oh good grief, there's so much wrong with this concept. Where to begin ...

First of all, I'd like nothing more than to see Jerry Seinfeld on my TV again. But after being so successful in the sit-com arena, why for the love of God would he even think about stooping so low as to helm a reality series.

Second, marriage problems aren't funny. Sure, we laughed at Lucy and Ricky's squabbles and Ralph threatening Alice with "to the moon!" But these were situation comedies, not reality shows.

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Reality show audition lines will be a thing of the past

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 23rd 2008 12:06PM
Have you ever wanted to audition for a reality television show, but didn't have enough sick leave to fake an illness for your boss or the patience to wait in lines that would rival the bread lines in Cold War Russia?

Mark Burnett has struck a deal that will let people produce their own audition tapes.

Burnett signed a deal with Studio One Media
to supply high traffic areas with self-serve kiosks that let people put together their own tapes for a measly twenty bucks. They can also provide a web-based service that lets contestants upload their own videos.

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SJP's art reality show on Bravo...I'm just not sure

by Jane Boursaw, posted Jul 20th 2008 4:04PM
Bravo Picks Up SJP's Art Reality ShowSomehow, I never imagined that Sarah Jessica Parker's next TV gig after Sex and the City would be a reality show about art. In fact, it makes me a little sad thinking she'll be doing that instead of some fabulous new series with big stars and groovy music.

But, here you have it: Bravo has picked up an art competition reality show from Parker's Pretty Matches production company and producers Magical Elves. They're expected to announce the deal today at the Television Critics Association press tour, so Joel might have more info on this later.

The hour-long show is described by Elves' Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz as a Project Runway-style competition, only with art instead of fashion. Aspiring artists compete to produce various styles of artwork, including painting, sculpting, etc., which is then judged by a panel of experts.

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Reality TV: What it is, who watches it and why it exists

by Keith McDuffee, posted Jul 9th 2008 1:01PM
what where why of reality tv
Since the early days of TV Squad, we've covered realty programming in some capacity; we published news, episode reviews and commentary on whatever had viewers talking. I think back then we were covering Survivor, American Idol and perhaps The Amazing Race. We had a decent balance of reality and non-reality posts, and everyone seemed happy.

As the years went on, that balance shifted. The reality shows we were covering were only increasing in popularity, and more shows came in to ride the wave. As we sat back and watched some of the newer shows break onto the scene with little posting from us, the readers demanded our take. The monstrosity of Reality TV was something we couldn't ignore, so we provided.

Then we reached the breaking point.

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Reality stars aren't here to make friends - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 7th 2008 4:24PM

America's Next Top Model

I've noticed that one of the more overused phrases on reality shows is "I'm not here to make friends." It's that moment in the competition where some controversy/confrontation comes up and the player that everyone seems to dislike the most explains to them that they're "there to win the game" and "not here to make friends." Of course, the fact that many of these people probably can't make friends even in real life probably doesn't even cross their minds.

Now someone has taken a bunch of those "I'm not here to make friends" moments and created a YouTube montage. You'll see contestants from shows like Survivor, The Apprentice, The Amazing Race, America's Next Top Model, The White Rapper Show (whatever that is), Project Runway, Forever Eden, Hell's Kitchen, and other shows. One player even says "I ain't here to make no friends," which is at least a twist on the phrase.

It has gotten to the point where they really have to outlaw this phrase from all reality shows, though I think the phrase would make for an awesome t-shirt.

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