2008 Reality TV Fall Preview: Coming soon to a TV near you
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/02/2008
As the days grow shorter and temperatures chill, the slate of reality series for the fall heats up with the return of several powerhouse programs and some new shows thrown into the mix.
Not all of this fall's reality shows have formal premiere dates yet but the following is Reality TV World's 2008 Reality TV Fall Preview, highlighting all of the currently known shows that will be premiering in coming weeks as well as where and when to tune in.
In addition, some shows that debuted during the late summer -- including America's Got Talent, Big Brother 10, America's Toughest Jobs, The Hills, New York Goes to Hollywood, Outsider's Inn, The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency and My Super Sweet 16: Exiled! -- will continue airing new episodes well into the fall.
America's Next Top Model, Season 11 (premieres Wednesday, September 3 at 8PM ET/PT on The CW) Tyra Banks is apparently all about breaking down barriers, as full-figured model Whitney Thompson took home the show's tenth-season title and the show's upcoming eleventh installment will be the first to feature a transgender contestant. Ten of the 14 girls are also billed by The CW as students, meaning many of the catfights could be centered on literature or philosophy instead of who stole extra shower time. OK, maybe not.
Top Design, Season 2 (premieres Wednesday, September 3 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) With soon-to-be-former Project Runway producers Magical Elves onboard for the second season of this reality series, it seemed like there might be some changes in store. However the show will largely follow the same format as its lackluster first season and also feature the return of now-former host Todd Oldham, who would be a tree if he was any more wooden.
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Season 3 (premieres Friday, September 5 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) Just in time for the start of a new school year, this game show that embarrasses adults by proving elementary-aged students are more knowledgeable than they are is back for its third season -- no doubt shaming parents across the country into hiring tutors instead of helping with homework.
The Rachel Zoe Project (premieres Monday, September 8 at 11PM ET/PT on Bravo) While viewers may not know Rachel Zoe, they're almost certainly familiar with the styles she's designed for Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Cameron Diaz. Now they'll get a chance to meet the brains behind the beauty via this new reality series, which will follow the celebrity stylist and her team as they attempt to put her at the forefront of a new business.
Hole in the Wall (premieres Thursday, September 11 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) The name of this Japanese import says it all, as contestants attempt to contort their bodies to fit through different-sized shapes cut into a wall for the chance to win money. While versions of the show air in dozens of different countries, its stateside version will have the dubious honor of going up against Survivor and hoping its torch doesn't get snuffed.
Kitchen Nightmares, Season 2 (premieres Thursday, September 11 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox) What better way to give a struggling eating establishment a kick in the pants than be sending in foul-mouthed culinary king Gordon Ramsay? The second season of this British import will continue to do just that, following the Hell's Kitchen star as he travels across the country and helps restaurants in crisis. The FCC better keep its finger on the censor button for this one.
Don't Forget the Lyrics, Season 2 (premieres Friday, September 12 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox) This game show is back for a second season, which will once again see contestants try to remember the lyrics to famous songs for the chance to win a cash prize. Just don't forget it will air on Friday nights, which have traditionally proven to be a ratings graveyard for younger-skewing programming.
The Biggest Loser: Families (premieres Tuesday, September 16 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC) Now that this reality weight loss series has finally crowned a female champ, it's setting its sights on helping family members shed excess pounds via its sixth season. However the contestants won't be the only part of the show that could stand to lose a little, as NBC has once again decided to air bloated two-hour broadcasts on a weekly basis.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta (premieres Tuesday, September 16 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) In Bravo's attempt to document the lives of housewives in each of the 50 states, this spin-off will allow the network to cross Georgia off the list. Despite the different location, expect much of the same from the five "Hotlanta" women as they balance their burgeoning careers with busy home lives.
Survivor: Gabon (premieres Thursday, September 18 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS) Whether he likes it or not, Jeff Probst will get up close and personal with viewers for the seventeenth installment of this reality series, which for the first time will air in high-definition format. Good thing the smell wafting off the castaways isn't also HD, since the African sun and lack of soap doesn't produce the most flattering scent.
In Harm's Way (premieres Sunday, September 21 at 7PM ET/PT on The CW) Perilous professions will be the subject of this new reality series, which seems to be Deadliest Catch, Lobster Wars, Ax Men, Ice Road Truckers, Black Gold and any other Thom Beers-produced dangerous job show all rolled into one. Maybe watching it on Sunday nights will make viewers appreciate the relatively safety of their jobs come Monday morning.
Dancing with the Stars, Season 7 (premieres Monday, September 22 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) The mirror ball trophy is once again up for grabs in the sixth season of this reality series, with everyone from octogenarian Cloris Leachman to reality starlet Kim Kardashian and former boy band member Lance Bass on board as celebrity participants. However the stars are starting to get outshone by their professional counterparts, as Maks Mania and Hough Fever will undoubtedly sweep the nation.
Opportunity Knocks (premieres Tuesday, September 23 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) Now that Beauty and the Geek won't be airing anytime soon, Ashton Kutcher has different endeavors to focus on -- beginning with this new game show that's set in the competing family's backyard. Neighbors will no doubt think they're being Punk'd when they awake to see a stage set up on their street and executive producer JD Roth doing his best to helm the series.
The Amazing Race, Season 13 (premieres Sunday, September 28 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS) The next installment of this long-running reality series is back just in time to see if it was able to claim its sixth consecutive Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Emmy Award. Even if it does, it's a good thing the show is pre-taped since host Phil Keoghan was snubbed in the newly created host category -- meaning he presumably spent his summer sulking.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Season 6 (premieres Sunday, September 28 at 7PM ET/PT on ABC) Now that this show's trek across the 50 states has finally come to a close, it's back to business as usual as the design team descends on families in need and gives them the dream home they've always wanted but could never afford. Considering the current state of the housing market, there's a good chance they still won't be able to afford it once the cameras stop rolling.
Will Work for Food (premieres Tuesday, September 30 at 9:30PM ET/PT on Food Network) Adam Gertler wasn't crowned The Next Food Network Star's fourth-season champ, but that didn't stop him from helming this new reality series -- which will follow him as he explores a variety of little-known jobs in the culinary world and introduces viewers to the people who work at the different professions on a daily basis.
Paris Hilton's My New BFF (premieres Tuesday, September 30th at 10pm ET/PT on MTV) What does a "celebutante" do when she wants more people to talk to -- or tolerate -- her? Get a show on MTV! After being quizzed on all things Paris and led around the world to banquets and parties, eighteen Hilton-devotees will vie to become the hotel-heiress' newest BFF while avoiding being told to "TTYN" (or "talk to you never").
17 Kids and Counting (premieres Wednesday, October 1 at 9PM ET/PT on Discovery Health Channel) Strongly against birth control and clearly willing to put their money where there mouth is, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar -- and their 17 children -- are the subject of this new show. In between planning for their eldest son's wedding, readying themselves for child #18, and maintaining their used car lot, The Duggars experiences may ironically serve as the best kind of birth control around.
Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, Season 2 (premieres Thursday, October 2 at 11PM ET/PT on Bravo) The Project Runway fashion guru is back for the second season of his own reality makeover show, which will continue to transform fashion disasters into stylish individuals. However supermodel Veronica Webb -- Gunn's first-season co-host -- will be replaced by fashion expert Gretta Monahan, who will lend her sense of style to help each fashion zero find their signature look.
Wife Swap, Season 5 (premieres Friday, October 3 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) While some of the husbands featured in the fifth season of this reality series presumably wish they could swap their spouse for good, that wouldn't be in the spirit of the show, which will instead see matriarchs exchange families as a learning experience.
Supernanny, Season 5 (premieres Friday, October 3 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) There is apparently no rest for Jo Frost, who will return for the fifth season of this reality series to help rear unruly children and teach their parents a thing or two about how they can do the same once the British nanny catches a tailwind and umbrellas it back across the Atlantic.
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Season 3 (premieres Saturday, October 4 at 9:30PM ET/PT on CMT) Tired of watching repeats of the Dallas Cowboys' players sweat it out in training camp on Hard Knocks? Switch the channel to CMT and watch the drama unfold as cheerleading hopefuls are once again pitted against each other and vie for their chance to join "America's Team's" cheerleading squad and dance on Texas Stadium's big star. Dates with T.O are not included.
My Big Redneck Wedding, Season 2 (premieres Saturday, October 4 at 9PM ET/PT on CMT) Those longing to see a wedding that not only reinforces every southern stereotype in the books, but one that also revels in it, need look no further than the second season of My Big Redneck Wedding. Host Tom Arnold will follow a different couple each week as they prepare their (extremely) southern-style weddings. And given August's special featured catering by Hooters and a giant matrimonial beer slide, it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.
Dirty Jobs, Season 4 (premieres Tuesday, October 7 at 9PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel) Mike Rowe is still going strong after three seasons of subjecting himself to the worst jobs on earth. In Season 4, Rowe will tackle gross-out professsions such as serving an apprentice for a large-animal-veternarian, harvesting cranberries, fishing for slime eels, and excavating an oil tank in New Jersey. Ew, New Jersey...
Gimme My Reality Show! (premieres Saturday, October 11 at midnight on Fox Reality Channel) Gimme isn't a polite way to ask for anything, but considering the cast of reality show retreads and wannabe celebrities assembled for this new series there's apparently no time for manners. The show will also be airing on Saturdays at midnight, which certainly won't do anything to help the contestants gain the exposure they were hoping for.
The Chef Jeff Project (premieres Sunday, October 12 at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network) Inmate-turned-award-winning-chef Jeff Anderson has learned a lot through his troubled past. In The Chef Jeff Project, he will seek to pass along advice to six troubled youths -- nicknamed "The Crew" -- as they complete catering assignments in which he'll attempt to remake their appearances, attitudes and behaviors. Manny Ramirez will do his part by offering advice on hair styling as well.
Scream Queens (premieres Sunday, October 12 at 10PM ET/PT on VH1) When she's not working at Jigsaw's side in the Saw films, actress Shawnee Smith will join Dawn of the Dead director James Gunn and acting coach John Homa as they bloody up 10 potential starlets competing for the chance to likely be killed in an upcoming Lionsgate Films horror feature. You may want to put the kids to bed before this one.
Rock of Love: Charm School with Sharon Osbourne (premieres, October 12 at 9:00PM ET/PT on VH1) Sharon Osbourne tamed her rock star husband Ozzy so you know she means business. In Charm School, Osbourne will serve as the "headmistress" for 14 women who were former contestants on Rock of Love with Bret Michaels' first two seasons. With a $100,000 grand prize at stake, the girls will get a few lessons in etiquette from Osbourne and have their social skills put to the test in a variety of challenges.
Little People, Big World, Season 4 (Premieres Monday, October 13 at 8 PM ET/PT on TLC) Yes their house is still under construction... Season 4 will see Matt Roloff will journey to Iraq to help a family with three dwarf children in desperate need of medical attention while sons Jeremy and Zach prepare for their graduation, daughter Molly learns to drive, and mother Amy begins to realize that her children are growing up. It sounds like their big world is only getting bigger.
Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod (premieres Tuesday, October 14 at 10PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel) Going on a 1,150 mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska may not be some people's idea of a good time even if you spotted them an RV and a space heater. But for the seven mushers that were followed by cameras during the 2008 Iditarod Trial Sled Dog Race, facing the harsh conditions of the Alaskan wilderness firsthand is literally just another day at the office for them. The six-episode series will chronicle each musher's journey in the race, which saw eighteen musher's drop out of it's 2008 running because of harsh conditions.
Parking Wars, Season 2 (premieres Wednesday, October 15 at 10PM ET/PT on A&E) The second season of Parking Wars will once again focus on the always busy members of the Philadelphia Parking Authority as they dispense parking violations, impound vehicles and draw the ire of almost everyone they meet. Season 2 will also introduce a new class of PPA employees to the mix where they will be taught to write tickets and deflect criticism as well. Talk about anti-heroes...
Prototype This (premieres Wednesday, October 15 at 10PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel) Sure, a "road rage proof" car sounds like a good idea in principle, but who would ever take the time to make it a reality? Enter Prototype This, a Smash Lab-like series in which emerging techonlogies meet possible inventions and -- with the help of electronics specialists, engineers, professors, and special effects experts -- attempt to create an original and forward thinking invention. Enough about the car, just send them a copy of Windows Vista and let them fix that.
Stylista (premieres Wednesday, October 22 at 9PM ET/PT on The CW) Tyra Banks has teamed up with a pair of former non-Magical Elves Project Runway executive producers for this new reality series, which will follow contestants competing for a paid, year-long Elle editorial position. Don't hesitate to make The Devil Wears Prada comparisons -- The CW certainly hasn't.
Secret Millionaire (premieres Wednesday, December 3 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) Fox has duped numerous people via reality series ranging from My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance and Joe Millionaire, and the joke is on the homeless in this new show -- which will follow wealthy Americans as they try to survive in some of the country's most impoverished neighborhoods. At least the penniless people will receive some money for their troubles, and just in time for the holiday season.