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MyNetworkTV to air 'Meet My Folks', three other reality series this fall


By Steve Rogers and Christopher Rocchio, 05/31/2007 

Next year's Paradise Hotel revival is apparently going to have plenty of reality TV company on MyNetworkTV, the new over-the-air broadcast network that Fox launched with American adaptations of foreign telenovelas shows last fall but now plans to re-focus on reality and unscripted programming.  

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In addition to its recently announced Paradise Hotel revival, MyNetworkTV has announced that it will air four additional reality series -- including Meet My Folks, which originally aired on NBC during 2002 and 2003 -- as part of its 2007-2008 primetime schedule.

MyNetworkTV's Fall 2007 Tuesday night schedule will begin with 8-9PM ET/PT broadcasts of The Academy, a new one-hour reality series that Fox Reality, MyNetworkTV's "all-reality, all-the-time" digital cable and satellite TV sister network, premiered today and will be airing on Thursdays throughout the summer.  The Academy follows a group of trainees as they work to complete an 18-week training regimen to become members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Although The Academy was originally announced as a Fox Reality-only original series when the network first announced it back in October (before MyNetworkTV's telenovela programming bombed in the ratings), MyNetworkTV's decision to rebroadcast the show as part of its own schedule isn't a big surprise.  When plans for Paradise Hotel's revival were announced earlier this month, the networks announced that the show will be co-produced and financed by both networks and Fox Reality and MyNetworkTV will both air the show. (The move does raise one obvious question however -- given MyNetworkTV's new strategy not only includes a similar unscripted programming focus but would now also seem to include airing all of Fox Reality's future original reality programming, is there really a long-term future for two reality-focused fledging Fox networks?)

Jail, a new half-hour docu-reality series that follows convicts living their daily lives behind bars, will follow The Academy and air back-to-back episodes in the Tuesdays at 9PM ET/PT time period.  Produced by John Langley, who created and produced Fox's Cops, Jail was filmed in prisons across the country. According to Daily Variety, the first three episodes will focus on prisons in Tampa, FL; Fort Worth, TX; and Las Vegas, NV.

Meet My Folks will air Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT, where it will serve as the lead-out for Divorce Wars, the working title of a new reality series that will place married couples on the cusp of calling it quits in a house where they'll attempt to reconcile their relationship over the course of five days through counseling and therapy. 

If Divorce Wars' concept sounds a lot like one of the Dr. Phil show's regular segments, there's a good reason for that -- the show is being produced by Stage 29 Productions, Dr. Phil McGraw's production company, and will be hosted by his son Jay McGraw, who previously hosted Fox's Renovate My Family reality series. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Meet My Folks -- which NBC originally premiered in July 2002 and ended up spawning Who Wants to Marry My Dad?, a spinoff series that actually managed to outlive its parent show's original NBC run -- is tentatively scheduled to begin with repeats of the show's NBC episodes before switching to newly produced episodes later in the year.  Meet My Folks' new episodes will reportedly follow the same format as the show's original episodes and give parents a chance to use a series of interviews, tasks, and lie detector test to select a potential suitor that will be allowed to date their child.

MyNetworkTV president Greg Meidel told Variety that the network has ordered "between 10 and 15 episodes" of Jail, The Academy, Divorce Wars and Meet My Folks.  In addition, he confirmed that MyNetworkTV has ordered 15 new hour-long episodes of Paradise Hotel, with plans to premiere it in March 2008.

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