2009 Reality TV Summer Preview: Coming soon to a TV near you
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/16/2009
Temperatures aren't the only thing rising this summer, as the new season also means the dawn of several new reality series and the return of some old favorites that have been on vacation.
Not all of this summer's reality shows have formal premiere dates yet, but the following is Reality TV World's 2009 Reality TV Summer Preview, highlighting all of the currently known shows that will be premiering in coming months as well as where and when to tune in.
The Bachelorette, Season 5 (premieres Monday, May 18 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) Jillian Harris wasn't ABC's first choice to star in The Bachelorette's upcoming summer installment -- nor was she the second -- however the network will have to settle for the quirky Canadian, who was rejected by The Bachelor star Jason Mesnick earlier this year. Since Harris hails from north of the border, expect lots of winter-themed dates and people saying "aboot."
4th & Long (premieres Monday, May 18 at 10PM ET/PT on Spike TV) Michael Irvin is taking his hall of fame-caliber football experience to a group of pigskin amateurs in this new reality competition series, which will give one unsigned hopeful an opportunity to make the Dallas Cowboys roster. While the players will undoubtedly listen to Irvin's football wisdom, they're presumably hoping to avoid wearing the flashy suits he likes to don.
So You Think You Can Dance, Season 5 (premieres Thursday, May 21 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) As American Idol enters its annual off season, the fifth season of this dance-themed reality series is ready to take center stage as a new group of two-steppers hope to avoid danger by waltzing into viewers' hearts. With former contestants Dmitry Chaplin, Lacey Schwimmer and Chelsie Hightower all participating in Dancing with the Stars' eighth season, So You Think You Can Dance has apparently become the minor leagues for the ABC reality series.
Intervention, Season 7 (premieres Monday, May 25 at 9PM ET/PT on A&E) While it may have lost last year's Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program to Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, this docu-reality series continues to provide A-list insight into the life of people battling various drug and alcohol addictions and eating disorders. With a chance at life serving as the prize at the end of each episode, the stakes are also much higher than any other reality series.
Jon & Kate Plus 8, Season 5 (premieres Monday, May 25 at 9PM ET/PT on TLC) Could reality television play a role in the downfall of another marriage? That's the question viewers will undoubtedly want to see answered in the fifth season of this reality series, as Jon and Kate Gosselin attempt to survive recent reports of infidelity while also trying to raise their eight young children, including 5-year-old sextuplets.
Obsessed (premieres Monday, May 25 at 10PM ET/PT on A&E) Viewers obsessed with A&E's Intervention will enjoy this new docu-reality series, which will follow individuals suffering from extreme anxiety disorders ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder to a variety of phobias.
Here Come the Newlyweds, Season 2 (premieres Monday, May 25 at 10PM ET/PT on ABC) As if there already isn't enough facing newlyweds after they walk down the aisle, the second season of this reality competition series will continue to see if several recently-married couples can survive challenges designed to test their affection for one another. With a substantially-large "nest egg" on the line, the couples are presumably hoping they can keep that honeymoon feeling for a few extra weeks.
Cake Boss (premieres Monday, May 25 at 10PM ET/PT on TLC) Buddy Valastro is the cake king of Hoboken, NJ, and this new Ace of Cakes-like reality series will follow the master baker as he concocts edible pieces of art for various events. However Valastro is hoping there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen, as his mother, four older sisters and three brothers-in-law all lend a helping hand in running the business.
The Little Couple (premieres Tuesday, May 26 at 10PM ET/PT on TLC) TLC apparently can't get enough of airing the everyday lives of little people, as this new reality series will follow businessman Bill Klein and pediatrician Jen Arnold -- both of whom are less than four-feet tall -- as they embark on their new life together and face the challenges of marriage. The Roloffs better watch their backs!
Hitched or Ditched (premieres Tuesday, May 26 at 9Pm ET/PT on The CW) Mike Fleiss has done it again, as The Bachelor creator's latest reality series presents an interesting ultimatum to six couples in a long-term relationship: walk down the aisle or walk away from each other. To see if the couples are ready to take the plunge, they will have a week to test their affection for one another because, as we all know, a week is really all anyone needs to decide if they're ready to spend the rest of their life with somebody.
Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, Season 2 (premieres Tuesday, May 26 at 10PM ET/PT on Oxygen) While Tori & Dean's first two installments followed Tori Spelling and her husband Dean McDermot as they ran Chateau La Rue bed-and-breakfast, the show's third edition and upcoming fourth season simply gave viewers a glimpse of the couple living their Hollywood lifestyles. Oxygen apparently thinks it's interesting stuff, as they recently inked a multi-platform development deal with the former Beverly Hills 90210 actress and her husband.
Wipeout, Season 2 (premieres Wednesday, May 27 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) Last summer's surprise hit is back with an improved obstacle course designed to create countless crashes and a frenzy of face plants, improbable impacts and wonderful wipeouts. Plus with the economy currently in the tank, who wouldn't risk public embarrassment for a shot at $50,000?
Tattoo Highway (premieres Wednesday, May 27 at 10PM ET/PT on A&E) Thomas Pendelton is Santa Claus and everyday is Christmas in this new reality series, which will follow the tattoo artist as he travels cross country in his sleigh (a 1970s tour bus he transformed into an ink shop on wheels) to deliver presents (body art) to various children (anybody eager to go under the needle).
What Not to Wear, Season 7 (premieres Friday, May 29 at 9PM ET/PT on TLC) The seventh season of this reality series will kick-off with a blast from the past, as the premiere episode will feature former Blossom star Mayim Bialik as she receives a transformation from 1990s fashion horror show to chic woman of the 21st century. Honestly, the makeover is a few decades too late and also should have tackled Bialik's fellow fashion felon from Blossom, Joey Lawrence.
Jesse James is a Dead Man (premieres Sunday, May 31 at 10PM ET/PT on Spike TV) Presumably inspired by the former Monster Garage star's brush with death in April 2007 when he was almost runover by a stalker of his wife, Sandra Bullock, this new reality series will follow the motorcycle-loving outlaw as he takes on different death-defying challenges. Watching some of Bullock's movies could be considered dangerous but presumably won't be one of the insane stunts James undertakes.
Ice Road Truckers, Season 3 (premieres Sunday, May 31 at 9PM ET/PT on History) Maneuvering big rigs over 100 foot cliffs around hairpin curves in the middle of whiteouts, avalanches and -70 degree temperatures is just another day on the job for the truckers navigating the treacherous ice roads of the Arctic Ocean in this reality series. Ice Road legends Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland and Alex Debogorski will also face new up-and-comers looking to take their title, adding a competitive edge to the already dangerous job.
HGTV's $250,000 Challenge (premieres Sunday, May 31 at 10PM ET/PT on HGTV) Drew Lachey will add to his growing hosting resume with this new reality series, which will pit five Sherman Oaks, CA families against each other in a series of challenges created to test their interior design and home improvement skills. In addition to Lachey, HGTV network stars will also shine in the series by lending a helping hand, hammer or paint brush.
Expedition Africa: Stanley & Livingstone (premieres Sunday, May 31 at 10PM ET/PT on History) If you think there aren't any unexplored parts of the world left to discover, think again, as this new Mark Burnett-produced reality series will follow four modern-day explorers as they venture into the deep interior of Tanzania. Hopefully they brought some bug spray for the 970-mile challenge.
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, Season 2 (premieres Monday, June 1 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC) Marooning celebrities (and we use that term loosely) in the jungle is still the premise of this reality revival, which will follow the group as they fight for the title of "King or Queen of the Jungle" and a cash prize for their favorite charity. Since the show will air four nights a week for three weeks, NBC is hoping viewers aren't the ones asking to get out of here.
Paris Hilton's My New BFF, Season 2 (premieres Tuesday, June 2 at 10PM ET/PT on MTV) Paris Hilton apparently needs all the friends she can get, as the second season of this reality series will once again follow a bevy a of beauties (just as long as they're not as beautiful as Paris) as they compete for the affection of the former The Simple Life star. Chihuahuas need not apply.
Whale Wars, Season 2 (premieres Friday, June 5 at 9PM ET/PT on Animal Planet) Despite what the title of this show implies, this reality series isn't about waging war with some of the world's largest living animals. Instead, Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will continue to do battle with those looking to hunt and harvest whales for commercial purposes. After one episode you'll never look at ambergris the same way again.
The Next Food Network Star, Season 5 (premieres Sunday, June 7 at 9PM ET/PT on Food Network) With an opportunity to host their own Food Network series on the line, the fifth season of this reality series will once again pit a group of culinary contestants against each other as they are challenged to cook creative dishes all while wearing a smile for the cameras. Guest appearances will include everyone from Bobby Flay to Rachel Ray, so at least the contestants won't have to go too far to find role models.
Bridezillas, Season 6 (premieres Sunday, June 7 at 9PM ET/PT on WEtv) Can you leave a bride at the altar if the cameras are rolling? That will presumably be a question running through the minds of men featured on the sixth season of this reality series, as their soon-to-be wives' display some of the most heinous and obnoxious behavior ever caught on film -- all before walking down the aisle. Just imagine what these beauties will be like when they're pregnant...
Kendra (premieres Sunday, June 7 at 10PM ET/PT on E!) It's goodbye Playboy Mansion for Kendra Wilkinson, as this new reality series will follow the former The Girls Next Door star as ditches ex-boyfriend Hugh Hefner for fiance Hank Baskett in an attempt to settle down and start a family. Good luck Hank!
Denise Richards: It's Complicated, Season 2 (premieres Sunday, June 7 at 10:30PM ET/PT on E!) Denise Richards life is apparently so complicated that this reality series warranted a second season, which will continue to follow the actress (trust us, she's been in some movies) as she navigates life sans ex-husband Charlie Sheen.
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Season 5 (premieres Monday, June 8 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) After her second-straight Emmy award win last September, it's getting harder and harder for Kathy Griffin to prove she's on the D-list. However the comedian will attempt to do just that on the fifth season of this reality series, with stunts ranging from creating a Facebook account to obtaining a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame.
Top Chef Masters (premieres Wednesday, June 10 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) The new Top Chef spin-off -- and Iron Chef knock-off -- will pit culinary professionals against one another in a bracket-style tournament that will see the winner receive $100,000 for a charity of his or her choice.
She's Got the Look, Season 2 (premieres Thursday, June 11 at 9PM ET/PT on TV Land) The second season of this America's Next Top Model-like reality series will once again attempt to prove that age is only a number by pitting 10 women ages 35-and-older against one another to see who can best strut their stuff for a photo spread in SELF magazine and $100,000.
16 & Pregnant (premieres Thursday, June 11 at 10PM ET/PT on MTV) From female teenagers in Gloucester, MA who were purposely trying to get pregnant to Bristol Palin becoming a spokeswoman for abstinence AFTER she was already a teen mother, this new MTV reality series will give viewers a glimpse of what it's like to have a child before you get your drivers license. At least the network is doing its part to promote safe sex.
Hammertime (premieres Sunday, June 14 at 10PM ET/PT on A&E) Another washed-up rapper has received their own reality series, as this new show will follow MC Hammer as he juggles his family life with trying to manage his website, perform at concerts, give speaking engagements, and run his own music label. Who would have ever thought MC Hammer could be so busy?
Wedding Day (premieres Tuesday, June 16 at 8PM ET/PT on TNT) If Mark Burnett really is the "Spielberg of reality" -- as Audrina Patridge claims he is -- then this new reality series could be considered his attempt at a romantic comedy, as the Survivor producer is behind this new reality series that will provide deserving couples their dream wedding. If you ask us, Burnett should probably stick to competition series and leave the love stories for others to tackle.
I Survived a Japanese Game Show, Season 2 (premieres Wednesday, June 17 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) The second season of this reality competition series will once again attempt to prove that -- no matter how wild and wacky American reality and game shows are -- the Japanese have a knack for kicking it up a notch. At least America still builds a better car... right?
The Singing Bee (premieres Saturday, June 20 at 10PM ET/PT on CMT) TheSinging Bee went from delivering some of the best summer ratings when it premiered in July 2007 on NBC to being revived on CMT, which will air new episodes of the karaoke-style competition series. While the network has promised The Singing Bee will now have a country twang, they've also gotten scientific about it -- promising "a mix of 60% country music with 40% popular favorites from other genres." Sounds like a weather forecast, not a show format.
America's Got Talent, Season 4 (premieres Tuesday, June 23 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC) Whether creator Simon Cowell intended it or not, this reality show is now in competition with its sister series across the Atlantic to see which country can churn out the best talent. NBC is presumably hoping that viewers simply tune in to see if America can come up with its own version of Susan Boyle.
The Superstars (premieres Tuesday, June 23 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) In a day-and-age when celebrities are athletes and athletes are celebrities, ABC's celebrity-themed revival of this former Wide World of Sports staple will attempt to see which athlete/celebrity pairing is the most physically fit to win a series of head-to-head athletic challenges. We're guessing it will end with a lot of injured celebrities and even more frustrated athletes.
NYC Prep (premieres Tuesday, June 23 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) Gossip Girls comes to life in this new reality series, which will follow group of young socialites as they network, shop, party, study, date and write college applications all while living on the Upper East Side. Sounds gritty, real and in-your-face, doesn't it?
Dance Your Ass Off (premieres Monday, June 29 at 10PM ET/PT on Oxygen) Since folks that need to shed a few pounds typically don't enjoy exercising or dancing, this new reality competition series will cover both angles by following a group of full-figured contestants as they attempt to lose weight by shaking their moneymaker.
Great American Road Trip (premieres Tuesday, July 7 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC) As the summer vacation season begins to heat up, NBC is hoping this new reality series will sizzle as it follows several families as they travel across the country while competing against each other in a series of challenges. Hopefully the kids behave in the backseat or it could be a long drive with constant "Are we there yet?" nags and "Don't make me pull over!" threats.
Big Brother, Season 11 (premieres Thursday, July 9 at 8PM ET/PT at CBS) Talk about voyeuristic, as Julie Chen will be six-months pregnant when the eleventh-season of this reality series returns after fans were allowed to miss it for a whole year. Also make sure to clear DVR space since it will once again be airing three-nights-a-week.
Ghost Hunters International, Season 2 (premieres Wednesday, July 9 at 9PM ET/PT on Sci Fi Channel) Hunting ghouls in haunted spots across the Atlantic will continue to be the focus of this Ghost Hunters spin-off, which will follow Veteran The Atlantic Paranormal Society members as they attempt to see if spooks from other countries speak with accents.
Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design (premieres Saturday, July 11 at 12PM ET/PT on A&E) In all fairness, Keyshawn Johnson never did much tackling during his time as an NFL wide receiver. Regardless, this new reality series will follow the retired football player as he attempts to make a name for himself in the world of interior design by trying to impress different clients. Just show them your Super Bowl bling Key!
Miami Social (premieres Tuesday, July 14 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) With Bravo reality shows focusing on everything from housewives to teenage socialites, this new reality series will document the lives of young, single professionals who -- Shocker! -- party just as hard as they work. Two cast members will also look familiar to hardcore reality fans, as The Apprentice first-season contestant Katrina Campins and BigBrother 2 houseguest Hardy Hill show how to live in "The Magic City."
HGTV Design Star, Season 4 (premieres Sunday, July 19 at 10PM ET/PT on HGTV) Similar to Food Network's The Next Food Network Star -- which also is needlessly redundant by including the network's title in its own moniker -- this reality series will pit a group of contestants against one another with the winner eventually receiving his or her own show.
Dating in the Dark (premieres Monday, July 20 at 10PM ET/PT on ABC) Sticking to the old adage that looks aren't all that matters when it comes to compatibility, each episode of this new reality dating series will put three single men and three single women together in a house -- allowing them to communicate and interact without the aid of light. Once they select who they want to see and they are revealed to each other, some may want to continue the relationship in darkness.
Hell's Kitchen, Season 6 (premieres Tuesday, July 21 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) While there won't be much new for the sixth season of this culinary competition series, one of the contestants apparently challenges Gordon Ramsay "head-to-head," leading to the "most explosive, most outrageous and most intense elimination round ever seen" on the show. Our money's on Gordon...
The Colony (premieres Tuesday, July 21 at 10PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel) This new reality series will give viewers a glimpse of what it's like to live in a post-catastrophe world without having to go through all the ugliness of billions of people being killed and world civilization being destroyed. Survival never seemed so fun!
More to Love (premieres Tuesday, July 28 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox) You can't stop Mike Fleiss, you can only hope to contain him -- as The Bachelor creator has ripped-off his own format in this new reality dating series before giving it a twist in the form of a plus-size suitor and a bevy of voluptuous bachelorettes. We're not sure we want to live in a world where Fleiss and Fox reality chief Mike Darnell are allowed to collaborate, considering past projects have included the legendary Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Season 2 (premieres Thursday, July 30 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) The second season of this reality series will feature Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss replacing DeShawn Snow, who claims producers declined to renew her contract because she wasn't interesting enough. Don't worry DeShawn, not everyone can have as interesting a life as Lisa Wu Hartwell, who is deciding if she wants a second child. We can't take the suspense!
Megan Wants a Millionaire (premieres Sunday, August 2 at 9PM ET/PT on VH1) It's about time Megan Hauserman received her own reality series, as this show will follow the former -- take a deep breathe -- Beauty and the Geek, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, I Love Money and Rock of Love: Charm School contestant as she embarks on a search to find romance with one of 17 eligible multi-millionaires. Hauserman should just join The Girls Next Door while she's still young.
Tool Academy, Season 2 (premieres Sunday, August 2 at 10PM ET/PT on VH1) It's all in the title for the second season of this reality series, as a group of tools attend an academy where they will be schooled in proper boyfriend behavior such as honesty, fidelity, maturity and communication in the hopes of showing their girlfriends they are worth keeping.
Real Chance of Love: Back in the Saddle (premieres Monday, August 3 at 9PM ET/PT on VH1) Although viewers have presumably seen Ahmad "Real" Givens and Kamal "Chance" Givens receive more chances at love than either probably deserve, the second season of this reality dating series will once again follow the brothers in their seemingly never-ending quest for romance. Is Tiffany Pollard available?
Addicted to Beauty (premieres Tuesday, August 4 at 11PM ET/PT on Oxygen) Beauty can be had for a price in this new reality series, which will follow the staff at California's Changes Plastic Surgery and Spa as they tuck tummies, remove wrinkles and balloon breasts.
How'd You Get So Rich? (premieres Thursday, August 6 at 9PM ET/PT on TV Land) Joan Rivers proved that she can still run her mouth with the best of them as a The Celebrity Apprentice second-season contestant, and now the she'll take the helm of this new reality series that introduces viewers to millionaires who made their money in a variety of interesting ways.
America's Best Dance Crew, Season 4 (premieres Thursday, August 6 at 10PM ET/PT on MTV) With dance crew names that are just as wacky as the moves they perform, the fourth season of this reality competition series will once again attempt to find the country's hottest young dance crew. However there's no truth to the rumor that the show's fourth-season winner will receive a spot in a Gatorade commercial.
There Goes the Neighborhood (premieres Sunday, August 9 at 9PM ET/PT on CBS) While CBS did the best to keep the concept of this reality series under wraps, the 20-foot wall they constructed in suburban Atlanta kind of clued people in on what was going on -- as this new reality competition series will feature families battling against each other on their own property behind said wall. We can see the property values falling as we speak.
Shark Tank (premieres Sunday, August 9 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) Mark Burnett is giving ambitious entrepreneurs a chance to make it big in this American adaptation of the overseas Dragons' Den reality series, which will follow the amateur inventors as they pitch their plans to already established moguls with the goal of landing enough of a venture capital investment to move their idea forward. Hopefully the entrepreneurs remember that sharks bite more than they dole out money.
Flipping Out, Season 3 (premieres Monday, August 17 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) Considering Jeff Lewis' obsessive-compulsive tendencies, now is probably not the best time to be wheeling-and-dealing in the world of real estate. However the third season of this reality series will continue to follow Lewis as he does just that with the help of his trusty staff to quell -- or induce -- anxiety.
Ghost Hunters, Season 5 (premieres Wednesday, August 19 at 9PM ET/PT on Sci Fi Channel) The Atlantic Paranormal Society members Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson apparently have no idea what the phrase "Rest in Peace" means, as the fifth season of this reality series will continue to follow the real-life plumbers as they haunt the dead in an attempt to debunk claims of otherworldly activity.
Project Runway, Season 6 (premieres Thursday, August 20 at 10PM ET/PT on Lifetime) It's finally "Hello Lifetime!" and "Goodbye Bravo!" for the sixth season of this reality series, which was in legal limbo for almost a full year after Lifetime Networks and The Weinstein Company first announced their five-year, 10-season deal. The Real World's Bunim-Murray Productions production company are also onboard, meaning viewers can probably expect some drunken debauchery.
Models of the Runway (premieres Thursday, August 20 at 11PM ET/PT on Lifetime) Sick of playing second fiddle to the designers whose clothing they don, this new Project Runway spin-off will provide viewers a look at the show through the eyes of the models who participate in it, as they will also face weekly eliminations while competing for a cash prize and photo spread in Marie Claire magazine.
The Rachel Zoe Project, Season 2 (premieres Tuesday, August 25 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) Everybody's favorite celebrity stylist is back in the second season of this reality series, which will once again follow Rachel Zoe as she leads her team of fashion experts in an ongoing mission to build her brand.