2007 Reality TV Summer Preview: Coming soon to a TV near you
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/15/2007
Pirates, filmmakers, celebrity impersonators, culinary wizards, inventors, suprheroes, comedians, designers and numerous other characters will all be on display this summer, which will see the sun rise on several new reality series as well as the return of some formidable favorites.
Not all of this summer's reality shows have been formally announced yet but the following is Reality TV World's 2007 Reality TV Summer Preview, highlighting all of the currently known shows that will be premiering in coming weeks as well as where and when to tune in.
On the Lot (premieres Tuesday, May 22 at 9PM ET/PT and Thursday, May 24 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox) It's Lights! Camera! Action! for this American Idol-like series that was created by Mark Burnett and reality-television aficionado Steven Spielberg and focuses on finding the country's next great filmmaker. With its "Film Premiere" episodes mirroring performance broadcasts and "Box Office" episodes mimicking results shows -- On the Lot certainly has similar content to Idol, but can it produce the same ratings?
So You Think You Can Dance 3 (premieres Thursday, May 24 at 8PM ET/PT and Wednesday, May 30 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) This reality competition series turned living rooms across America into dance floors last summer, and it looks to do the same this time around as viewers vote for their favorite up and coming two-steppers. From last season's champ, the swing-dancing Benji Schwimmer, to other fan favorites like break-dancing Musa Cooper and graceful Travis Wall, it remains to be seen if this summer's cast can combine their talents and personalities to make judge Mary Murphy bellow her trademark shriek of joy.
The Simple Life Goes to Camp (premieres Monday, May 28 at 10PM ET/PT on E!) Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie rekindled their friendship and stayed out of jail and rehab just long enough to film the fifth installment of The Simple Life, which will have the BFFs traveling to various camps and working as counselors. As ludicrous as it may seem to have the two serving as counselors at a fat camp and couples camp, Hilton and Richie hopefully learned how to sharpen their acting chops during their time at drama camp.
The Next Best Thing (premieres Wednesday, May 30 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) People across America who perform their favorite celebrity impressions in-front of their bedroom mirrors will now have the opportunity to do so in-front of a studio and television audience thanks to this new series, which aims to find the country's best celebrity impersonators.
Pirate Masters (premieres Thursday, May 31 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS) It will be a pirate's life for the 16 buccaneer wannabes competing on this new Mark Burnett-created reality competition series, as they'll plunder and swash-buckle their way through 33 days on a 179-foot, square-rigged barque set adrift in the Caribbean in search of Spanish doubloons that total $1 million. Think of Survivor on a boat, minus Jeff Probst.
Hell's Kitchen 3 (premieres Monday, June 4 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox) If you can't take the summer heat, retreat to your living room to watch foul-mouthed British chef Gordon Ramsay light a fire under the butts of the culinary competitors cast for the third season of this reality competition series.
America's Got Talent 2 (premieres Tuesday, June 5 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC) This glorified talent show will have a few new faces for its second season, as Jerry Springer is in as host and Regis Philbin is out while Sharon Osbourne is in as the third judge and Brandy Norwood is out. Who knows? Perhaps judge David Hasselhoff could be the next domino to (drunkenly) fall.
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Season 3 (premieres Tuesday, June 5 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) Despite an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Reality Programming, comedian Kathy Griffin is still living it up on the D-List, and the third season of her reality series will follow the unabashed reality TV junkie at her prison comedy tour; on a trip to her hometown of Chicago for her high-school reunion; to the U.K. where she's attempting to launch her career; as she hits the dating scene as a recent divorcee; as well as at the Gay Adult Video Awards.
American Inventor 2 (premieres Wednesday, June 6 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) Possessing a patent can be a bureaucratic process -- that is unless you're featured on the second season of this reality competition series -- which aims to find the country's next great invention as well as the brain behind its creation. Aspiring inventors need look no further than former The Rebel Billionaire runner-up Sarah Blakely for inspiration, as the creator of Spanx footless pantyhose will serve as one of three judges for the series.
Ghost Hunters, Season 3 (six new third-season episodes debut Wednesday, June 6 at 9PM ET/PT on Sci Fi Channel) Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost? If the answer is yes, don't call the Ghostbusters. They're not real. However do feel free to call paranormal "ghostbusters" and real-life plumbers Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson as they investigate hauntings and bizarre occurrences while challenging skeptics across the country in the continuation of this reality show's third season, which originally premiered last fall.
Destination Truth (premieres Wednesday, June 6 at 10PM ET/PT on Sci Fi Channel) So many unexplained mysteries throughout the world, so little time. However this new six-episode Sci Fi Investigates-like reality series will attempt to uncover the truths behind some of the most notorious, supernatural and mysterious stories ever told. Investigations by adventurer and eager truth-seeker Josh Gates will include the Fire Worm of Mongolia; the Chilean Chupacabre; the Malaysian Bigfoot; American Idol's forgotten first-season host Brian Dunkleman; the flying dinosaur-like creatures over Papau, New Guinea; a haunted village in Thailand; and the wolfman of Argentina.
Fast Cars & Superstars - Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race (premieres Thursday, June 7 at 8PM ET on ABC) A mix of 12 athletes and entertainers will find themselves behind the wheels of stock-cars in this new seven-episode reality series. With the ultimate goal being to master a time-trial with the quickest laps, at least the celebrity participants will be racing on closed courses.
Bindi: The Jungle Girl (premieres Saturday, June 9 on Discovery Kids Channel) Wasting little time on picking up where her recently deceased father -- Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin -- left off, this new reality series aimed at children will teach the importance of wildlife conservation. With the entire Irwin family included in several of the episodes, the series will also offer fans of the famed Crocodile Hunter an opportunity to watch him pass-on life lessons of respecting nature to a new generation of conservationists, as his daughter leads the way.
I Propose (premieres Tuesday, June 12 on The Style Network) We all know what brides can be like before the big day (see: Bridezillas). But for the groom, the most stressful part about exchanging vows occurs well in advance as they try to concoct the perfect situation to pop the question. Each half-hour episode of this series will document a groom's pre-engagement process, from the all-important ring selection to the even more important moment when they ask for dad's approval. Here's to hoping they're smart enough to ask dad before they buy the ring just in case he says no.
Last Comic Standing 5 (premieres Wednesday, June 13 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC) While love may be the international language -- laughter is also universal -- and the fifth season of this reality competition hopes to prove just that as it went global with it's casting call to find the funniest up and coming stand-up comedians. Considering the new $250,000 grand prize the winner will receive in addition to the standard NBC talent contract deal and Bravo half-hour comedy special, the stakes are no laughing matter.
Top Chef 3 Miami (premieres Wednesday, June 13 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) The kitchen won't be able to contain the heat generated by the third season cast of this culinary competition series, as they'll be living and working in sunny Miami. With a cast of 15 including sous chefs, restaurateurs, caterers, and even a Jamaican cheese maker (that's a cheese maker from Jamaica, not one who makes Jamaican cheese), some are sure to sizzle while others will just leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Bridezillas, Season 4 (premieres Sunday, June 17 at 9PM ET/PT on WE tv) They're back, and they're apparently "bigger and badder" than before, if that's even possible. The fourth season of this reality series debuts just in time for all those summer weddings on your itinerary. With an episode including the first time ever a Bridezilla was left at the altar, maybe it will provide brides-to-be some perspective on how not to act to ensure they're groom actually shows up.
Ice Road Truckers (premieres Sunday, June 17 at 10PM ET/PT on The History Channel) Delivering supplies to diamond mines literally located only a few miles from the Arctic Circle probably isn't one of the more sought-after jobs on Monster.com, however that's just what the six truck drivers featured in this new Deadliest Catch-like docu-reality series do for a living. Since the roads they travel on are no more than frozen lakes, the truck drivers may want to take a cue from Deadliest Catch and wear a lifesaver.
Age of Love (premieres Monday, June 18 at 10PM ET/PT on NBC) If age is really just a number when looking for love, tennis pro Mark Philippoussis will soon learn the hard way. In this new reality dating competition series Philippoussis will serve as the object of affection for six young women in their 20's -- the "Kittens" -- as well as seven women in their 40's, the "Cougars." Hopefully he remembers that both cougars and kittens have claws.
I've Got Nothing to Wear (premieres Friday, June 22 at 10PM ET/PT on TLC) A closet full of clothes can often times be more of a burden than a help for some women, and in each half-hour episode of this new reality series, a group of designers will use their creativity to take an existing wardrobe, keep whatever is salvageable and combine it with a few newly purchased items to form several fresh fashions.
Science of Love: A Modern Dating Experiment (one-hour special to air Monday, June 25 at 10PM ET/PT on NBC) A scientific matchmaking system is put to the test against natural compatibility in this one-hour reality special, which will follow former NFL player Adam Johnson as he venture on dates with two different women -- one he chooses based on "instinct" from a pool of 50 candidates, and one chosen by relationship expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz, co-creator of the Duet Total Compatibility System. Hopefully the computerized system doesn't have an ax to grind against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnson's former team.
Shaq's Big Challenge (premieres Tuesday, June 26 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) Add reality television star to Shaquille O'Neal's resume, as the NBA star, rapper, actor, and reserve police officer will star in this new six-episode weight-loss reality series. While Shaq is unquestionably big, he's not the one who will be shedding the pounds, as instead he'll be trying to help transform six obese middle-school students from Florida into healthy kids. Hopefully there are a few dunks thrown in there too. Who doesn't like a good dunk?
Hey Paula (premieres Thursday, June 28 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) If you thought Paula Abdul was just a judge on American Idol, think again. This seven-episode series will enlighten viewers to the many hats Abdul wears these days, which includes work on her new Bratz: The Movie project; developing her own line of perfumes and cosmetics; expanding her originally-designed jewelry line; marketing her clothing line; and fitting personal appearances into her demanding schedule. If the series does well, it could spawn spin-offs such as Yo Simon and What Up Randy.
Big Brother 8 (premieres Thursday, July 5 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS) Big Brother won't be the only omnipresent figure watching the housemates featured on the eighth-season of this long-running reality competition series -- as viewers will also have a bevy of opportunities to see the inner workings of the show's house -- with CBS planning to air episodes thrice weekly while also offering nightly live video feeds on Showtime Too. It'll be a give and take, as viewers will receive a mostly uncensored look at Big Brother 8 via Showtime Too, but first they'll have to endure more of host Julie "Chenbot" Chen.
Hell Date (premieres Monday, July 9 at 7:30PM ET/PT on BET) A soulmate can be hard enough to find, but this Punk'd-like reality dating series makes it even more difficult by setting up unsuspecting suitors on outings with hired guns who make the experience anything but ideal.
The Singing Bee (premieres Tuesday, July 10 at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC) This new game show will see how well contestants can accurately sing lyrics to popular songs in a karaoke-style showdown for the chance to win $50,000. The show will be hosted by Dancing with the Stars'fourth-season runner-up Joey Fatone, who is one The Surreal Life stint away from cementing his celebrity status in the world of reality television.
Baldwin Hills (premieres Tuesday, July 10 at 10PM ET/PT on BET) Worlds collide in this new 10-episode docu-reality series -- which will follow the lives of 12 African-Americans ranging in age from 16- to 19-years-old -- some of whom have wealthy parents and others who come from a "rough neighborhood." Needless to say, social stature is a key point of contention.
Don't Forget the Lyrics! (premieres Wednesday, July 11 at 9:30PM ET/PT on Fox) Tell me if you've heard this one before. With comedian Wayne Brady at the helm, this new game show will feature contestants trying to correctly complete the verses of different songs for the chance to win $1 million. Think of it as Fox's version of the aforementioned The Singing Bee, or the non-NBC version of The Singing Bee. Either way...
Trick My Truck (premieres Friday, July 13 at 9:30PM ET/PT on CMT) Pimp My Ride with a country twang, the third season of this CMT series follows the truck mechanics at Chrome Shop Mafia as they tackle everything from big rigs to pick-ups. Who else could modify a semi -- one of the most intimidating vehicles on the road -- into a "moving tribute to breast cancer research?"
Rock of Love with Bret Michaels (premieres Sunday, July 15 at 9PM ET/PT on VH1) Former Poison frontman and Nashville Star judge Bret Michaels is apparently sick of dating the same old women who flock to him due to his rocker image, so he'll use this 10-episode reality series to let out his romantic side and challenge a group of suitors to show their devotion to him while living in his Los Angeles mansion. Michaels may think this sounds like a good idea, but he must have missed both seasons of Flavor of Love.
Scott Baio is 45... And Single (premieres Sunday, July 15 at 10:30PM ET/PT on VH1) Former teen heartthrob Scott Baio is... SINGLE!? That could come as a bit of a surprise considering the laundry list of women he's dated over the past 25 years, which includes such names as Pamela Anderson -- whom he was engaged to twice but never married. The only woman Baio gets close to in this new reality series is Dr.Alison "Doc Ali" Arnold, a life coach who takes the former Charles in Charge star on an eight-week journey to confront the demons of his past and look towards the future.
Victoria Beckham: Coming to America (one-hour special to air Monday, July 16 at 8PM ET on NBC) Family came first for the former Posh Spice, shrinking this docu-reality show from a six-episode series to a one-shot special that will chronicle Victoria Beckham's move across the Atlantic to Los Angeles where she's set-up shop with her soccer-star husband David Beckham as he begins his career with Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy. While "Posh and Becks" may be big in their soccer-crazy native U.K., it remains to be seen if England's version of "Bradjelina" can create the same type of celebrity buzz in the States.
America's Next Producer (premieres Wednesday, July 18 at 8PM ET/PT on TV Guide Channel) Singers, dancers, chefs, models, directors, designers, celebrity impersonators and numerous other vocations have been the focus of reality competition shows, and this 10-episode series finally gives producers there time to shine as it aims to find the country's next up and coming production wiz. Among the prizes the winner will receive is a first-look deal with the cable network, and you can bet what they'll create will be more entertaining than the scroll-style television listings Tv Guide Channel is known for.
HGTV Design Star 2 (premieres Sunday, July 22 at 10PM ET/PT) It will be viva Las Vegas for the 11 interior designers, artists, architects and craftsmen pitted against one another in the second season of this reality competition series, as they all attempt to show-off their creativity, ingenuity and skills in the hopes of landing the grand prize of his or her own HGTV television show.
Who Wants to be a Superhero 2 (premieres Wednesday, July 25 at 9PM ET/PT on Sci Fi Channel) The fictional crime-fighting alter egos of this reality competition series' second installment will be unmasked as they vie for the opportunity to be immortalized in their own comic book. With legendary comic-book creator Stan Lee returning to identify this generation's next superhero, he's probably hoping the contestants are more Spider-Man and less Nitro G, who failed to impress anyone with his super powers during the series' first season when he gave the cold shoulder to a girl in distress.
David Beckham's Soccer USA (premiere Wednesday, July 25 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox Soccer Channel) In case you didn't know, British-born soccer stud David Beckham has arrived in America, and this 13-episode docu-reality series will follow the $250 million man from his matches with MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy to settling down in Tinsletown with his wife Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. Not even Pele got this much attention when he came to the States as the world's most famous footballer in 1972.
Welcome to the Parker (premieres Thursday, July 26 at 11PM ET/PT on Bravo) Working in paradise apparently isn't all it's cracked-up to be. This new docu-reality series will explore both the personal and professional relationships of several staff members at the Parker Palm Springs, a five-star resort located in Southern California. If having to deal with each other weren't bad enough, the staff also has to put-up with the Parker's pampered guests. Mints don't put themselves on pillows you know.
Flipping Out (premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) An obsessive compulsive yet successful businessman, Jeff Lewis runs his real-estate firm with the aid of friends who also cater to his personal needs. From taking care of his precious pet cat Monkey to being responsible for purchasing homes, quickly renovating them and then flipping them for a profit, this new docu-reality series will make you glad you're not in the real-estate business and even more happy Lewis isn't your boss.
Murder (premieres Tuesday, July 31 at 10PM ET/PT on Spike TV) Years of watching crime dramas have prepared the amateur gumshoes followed in each one-hour episode of this show, as they attempt to correctly solve a real homicide that has been recreated for them. From emulating Lieutenant Horatio Caine's evidence collecting skills to discussing autopsies with the real-life equivalent of coroner Dr. Al Robbins, this 10 episode CS-like reality competition series will put the detective work in the hands of rookies who are eager to correctly solve their respective cases.
Fat March (premieres Tuesday, August 7 at 9PM ET on ABC) Prior to personal work-out routines and high-tech exercise equipment, those who were overweight would walk to shed the pounds. That's the general idea behind this new reality competition series, which will follow 12 hefty Americans as they walk -- and then walk some more -- in an effort to lose weight and take home a share of the $1.2 million grand prize. However this apparently won't be an after-dinner stroll, as the contestants will be trekking 570 miles across the northeastern portion of the country. Hope they brought their walking shoes.
NASCAR in Primetime (premieres Wednesday, August 8 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) Stock-car racing has become a legitimate American sport in recent years, and this five-part series was filmed over the course of five months by ABC News and documents the personal and professional stories of NASCAR, the largest sanctioning body of motorsports in America.
Hard Knocks 3 (premieres Wednesday, August 8 at 9PM ET/PT on HBO) Are you ready for some football? This docu-reality series is back after a five-year hiatus and has it's camera crew filming the Summer 2007 training camp of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Viewers may feel like they're on the field or in team meetings, however they won't have to endure tongue-lashings from Chiefs coach Herm Edwards or risk possible injury against a defense led by hard-hitting cornerback Ty Law.
The Real World: Sydney (premiere Wednesday, August 8 at 10PM ET/PT on MTV) "This is the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house, work together, and have their lives taped..." Oh you know the rest. There will be debauchery down under in the nineteenth installment of this long-running reality series, which for the first time will be set across the Pacific in Australia's largest city.
Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge (premieres Friday, August 10 at 9PM ET/PT on CMT) Reality television has proven celebrities can do everything from ice skate and dance to lose weight and co-exist in a controlled setting. But this 10-episode series will answer the age old question of whether or not celebrities can survive an eight-second bullride, which is much more difficult than it actually sounds. Just ask Stephen Baldwin, who got bucked from a bronco while filming for the series, which also features fellow celebrity-reality veterans Vanilla Ice, Leif Garrett and Jonny "Fairplay" Dalton. Kathy Griffin was apparently unavailable.
Tori & Dean: Inn Love (premieres Tuesday, August 14 at 10PM ET/PT on Oxygen) Tori Spelling is busy these days. The former Donna Martin runs her own Southern California inn with hubby Dean McDermott; cares for the couple's first child together; keeps her fingers crossed she'll be picked as a celebrity participant on the upcoming fifth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars; and also marries couples on the side as a newly ordained minister. By the way, anybody know what happened to Randy Spelling?
Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County (premieres Wednesday, August 15 at 10:30PM ET/PT on MTV) Don't let the new location and fresh-faced cast fool you, as this series is the fourth installment of MTV's Laguna Beach docu-reality series, which has moved up the California coast to Newport Beach. Much of the drama is still the same however, as former BFFs fight for the affection of the same girl; first kisses are caught on camera; and overprotective parents try to rule their privileged kids with an iron fist.
Pantry Raid (premieres Wednesday, August 29 at 9PM ET/PT on The Style Network) With a title that pays homage to the teen sex comedies of the 1980s, this new reality series will follow executive chef Michael Schulson as he ambushes unsuspecting homeowners and raids their kitchen, using only the ingredients he finds to concoct an edible, credible creation. Schulson will also offer tips to viewers on how they can whip-up meals from scratch, rendering food delivery services useless.