2009 Reality TV Spring Preview: Coming soon to a TV near you
By John Bracchitta, 03/06/2009
With the weather is beginning to warm a new slate of reality series -- featuring many longtime favorites and a few interesting new shoes as well -- is set to debut in the coming weeks.
Whether you want to know how well Lawrence Taylor can do a cha-cha-cha, have an extreme interest in dog grooming, or are just hoping that the next The Bachelorette star doesn't (or maybe does) break a few hearts, the spring season has more than enough going for it to keep everyone happy until the dog days of summer set in.
The following is Reality TV World's 2009 Reality TV Winter Preview, highlighting all of the currently known shows that will be premiering in coming months as well as where and when to tune in.
In addition, some shows that debuted recently -- including American Idol, The Biggest Loser: Couples, Hell's Kitchen, The Amazing Race, and Survivor: Tocantins will also air new episodes during the spring as well.
The Celebrity Apprentice, Season 2 (premieres Sunday, March 1 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC) While some may question the alleged "celebrity" status of some of The Donald's latest group of buddies, it's hard to argue with the star power of second-season The Celebrity Apprentice stars Andrew Dice Clay, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Dennis Rodman and Tom Green. In other news today, President Clinton addressed Congress about the nation's ever-surging economy...
Running in Heels (premieres Sunday, March 1 at 8PM ET/PT on Style Network) Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a fashion magazine? If so, here's your chance to find out. From celebrity cover shoots to high-profile Fashion Week events, Running in Heels will show Marie Claire magazine's editors and interns doing it all. In addition, the show will also feature Project Runway judge Nina Garcia's arrival at Marie Claire last September.
Ax Men, season 2(premieres Monday, March 2 at 10PM ET/PT on History) Question: What is harder to grasp about the second season of Ax Men, which will continue to follow the activities of Pacific Northwest loggers as they brave violent weather, mechanical problems, and unpredictable terrain to retrieve timber? Is it the fact that someone actually pitched a show about the lives of people who's profession is to cut wood, or the fact that it was picked up, and subsequently became a cable rating hit while airing on a network devoted to history of all places? Discuss amongst yourselves while we prepare our new Watching Paint Dry reality series pitch.
Harlem Heights (premieres Monday, March 2 at 10PM ET/PT on BET) Looking for a TheHills of their own, BET's Harlem Heights will follow eight young African Americans, including the ex-girlfriend of an international music star; a budding lifestyle editor for a magazine; a struggling actress; and the hard-partying son of a prominent Harlem political leader as they attempt to make their mark on New York City. Immediately following its premiere, the network will have already prepared a statement to refute claims that the entire show is staged and that the elopement of two of its stars in Mexico was only done for media attention.
Make Me a Supermodel, Season 2 (premieres Wednesday, March 4 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) "Change" is the abounding theme of Make Me a Supermodel's second season, which will see designer Catherine Malandrino; model Jenny Shimizu; international model scout Marlon; and Perou, a fashion photographer who served as a judge on the original U.K. Make Me A Supermodel, replace the show's first season judges. Supermodel Tyson Beckford will also be promoted to being the show's sole host while Nicole Trunfio will act as the new mentor to the season's female contestants instead of Niki Taylor. The show will also be pre-filmed and do away the first season's near real-time format that allowed home viewers to determine each week's eliminations and the competition's eventual winner.
Sunday Best, Season 2 (premiere Sunday, March 8 at 9PM ET/PT on BET) Can we get a Hallelujiah! Sunday's Best returns for a second season as it, once again, sets out to find the next great gospel singer by scouring the country for undiscovered talent regularly relegated to church performances. Along with Grammy Award-winning gospel, hip-hop and R&B artist Kirk Franklin, who will serve as the show's host, Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Bebe Winans and gospel duo Mary Mary will also return to judge the contestants and serve as mentors to the contestants as they hone their vocal talents.
Dancing with the Stars, Season 8(premieres Monday, March 9 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC) Romance, injuries and Bruno Tonioli, oh my! Dancing with the Stars' returns for its eighth installment with yet another eclectic group of celebrities looking to learn their way around the dance floor. With a cast featuring former NFL star Lawrence Taylor, Jackass' Steve-O and Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak, as well as two new professional dancers and the return of professional dancer-turned-songstress-turned-dancer again Julianne Hough, viewers can expect all of the unique brand of drama and controversy that seems to only surface when dance shoes and live cameras are involved.
The Chopping Block (premieres Wednesday, March 11 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC) Looking for a Hell's Kitchen of their own, NBC recruited the show's former U.K. star Marco Pierre White to star in The Chopping Block, which will feature two teams of four couples each who will be given two empty, side-by-side restaurant spaces in the middle of Manhattan compete head-to-head until only one couple is left standing. Legend has it that White brought Chef Gordon Ramsey to tears while training him many years ago, so one would expect that a few feelings may be hurt by the time this show's run its course.
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Bridget's Sexiest Beaches(premieres Thursday, March 12 at 10PM ET/PT on Travel Channel) With her tenure as a resident house bunny at the Playboy Mansion coming to an end, soon-to-be former The Girls Next Door star Bridget Marquardt will follow up her initial reality TV success with Bridget's Sexiest Beaches, which will feature her traveling to some of the world's most exotic seaside destinations to sample cuisine and local fashions while partying as well. When you are able to parlay a career of being pampered by Hugh Hefner into a gig where you essentially get paid to vacation and maintain a tan, you know you're doing right.
The Osbournes: Reloaded (premieres Tuesday, March 13 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox) "The Prince of Darkness" continues to lighten up by the minute as he and his rockstar family return to the small screen for, of all things, a variety show? The Osbournes: Reloaded will feature the Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly as they take part in such "outrageous" acts such as bringing a stripping grandmother onstage along with "hilarious" off-stage segments such as "Osbournes Meet the Osbournes" where the family travels around the country and live with families that share their last name. Bats around the world rejoice, Ozzy is officially as edgy as a beachball...
Tough Love(premieres Sunday, March 15 at 10PM ET/PT on VH1) Fake movie romance is no longer enough for ToughLove producer Drew Barrymore. Tough Love will feature matchmaker Steve Ward as he improves the dating habits of eight women through his "tough love boot camp," before being sent out on dates with men chosen by Ward himself. The cast will include an obsessive Boston Red Sox fan who is in love with a has-been-turned-late night talk show host, a woman with amnesia who thinks she's meeting her boyfriend for the first time every time she sees him, and a 30-year-old journalist posing as a high school student. Oh, wait...
Taking the Stage(premieres Thursday, March 19 at 10PM ET/PT on MTV) Nick Lachey makes his return to reality TV on MTV with Taking the Stage, which will see the former Newlywed star work with and showcase the lives of five talented students at the School For Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in Cincinnati, Ohio, a school that has produced entertainers such as Lachey, Sarah Jessica Parker and Carmen Electra.
The Locator, Season 2 (premieres Saturday, March 21 at 9PM ET/PT on WE tv) The Locator will once again follow professional locator Troy Dunn as he and his team of professionals seek out different people and prepare them for a reunion with a loved one they had previously fallen out of contact with. Expect more confrontations, emotional reunions, and teary-eyed viewers trying to pretend that they just have something stuck in their eyes.
Table for 12(premieres Monday, March 23 at 10PM ET/PT on TLC) When does a network to have too many shows about families who have too many kids? Table for 12 joins Jon & Kate Plus 8 and 18 Kids and Counting as TLC's third super-sized family reality show that features Eric and Betty Hayes along with their 10 children, which are made up of two sets of twins and four-year-old sextuplets. The Hayes' may also go down in history as the first TV family that also represent a semi-decent poker hand.
College Hill: South Beach(premieres Tuesday, March 24 at 10PM ET/PT on BET) The Real World, err, rather, College Hill returns for a fifth season that will once again feature nine college students as they attempt to live together under the same roof and deal with each others personalities in a swanky South Beach, FL pad for one semester. You gotta hand it to BET, this kind of programming originality doesn't come around too often.
Pretty Wicked(premieres Tuesday, March 31 at 10PM ET/PT on Oxygen) Pretty Wicked will look to tap into the runaway success of ABC's True Beauty (uh, oh) by bringing 10 female beauties into a competition thinking that it will focus on their outer beauty. However, before the competitions begins, the contestants will be informed that their outer beauty will actually mean nothing in the competition, which will instead judge only their personalities. How will they split the money if everyone comes in a 10-way tie for last?
WCG Ultimate Gamer (premieres March 10, 2009 at 10PM ET/PT on Sci Fi) And the video gamers did rejoice! Ultimate Gamer will feature 12 professional gamers who compete in video game-inspired physical challenges before moving on to playing the actual video games the physical challenges were based on as they compete for a "Samsung electronics package, complete with the company‚Äôs most advanced technology products," as well as $100,000 and trips to video game tournaments organized by the World Cyber Games league. Eliminated contestants will immediately be escorted off the premesis by a plumber with a mustache unless they can first knock him down with a barrel.
River Monsters (premieres Sunday, April 5 at 10PM ET/PT on Animal Planet) River Monsters will feature biologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade as he travels around the world to exotic locations from Germany and Australia to Texas as he seeks out deadly creatures and predators that live underwater but are shrouded in mystery such as the piranha, alligator gar and wels catfish.
Mythbusters, Season 7 (premieres Wednesday, April 8 at 9PM ET/PT on Discovery) Mythbusters' seventh season will continue to follow special effects experts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage as they continue to use modern-day science and technology to tackle various myths and discover the truths behind them. In addition to traveling to Alaska to test local myths and anecdotes as part of the network's Alaska Week event, the Mythbusters team will also test how slippery a banana peel on the floor actually is and see if a double-dipped chip is actually unsanitary.
American Chopper, Season 6 (premieres Thursday, April 9 at 9PM ET/PT on TLC) American Chopper's sixth season will follow the Teutuls as they run their successful custom motorcycle family business while dealing with the mounting tension between Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. The show will also feature the Teutuls struggling to expand the company during a challenging economy, heading to Anchorage to build a bike in honor of Alaska's 50 Years of Statehood Celebration, and continuing to explain that they're based in the cold Orange County located in upstate New York, not the warm, exciting Californian one seen elsewhere on cable reality shows.
Style Her Famous, Season 3 (premieres Saturday, April 11 at 8PM ET/PT on The Style Network) America's Next Top Model creative director Jay Manuel will return to host Style Her Famous' third season where he'll once again oversee the makeover of ordinary girls using their favorite celebrities as inspiration. Among the celebrities that will be used for inspiration on the show's third season will be Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, Alicia Keys, Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet.
Groomer Has It, Season 2 (premieres Saturday, April 11 at 9PM ET/PT on Animal Planet) Groomer Has It's second season will once again feature a group of groomers as they live together in a loft apartment in Los Angeles, CA while competing against one another in a series of grooming challenges designed to test their skills as they compete for the title of "Groomer of the Year" and a mobile dog salon. Ah, a salon on wheels, such is the fancy life of a dog groomer.
Doing DaVinci (premieres Monday, April 13 at 10PM ET/PT) Despite being dead for several hundred years, Leonardo DaVinci joins the ranks of Danny Bonaduce, RuPaul and Tommy Lee in receiving their own reality show. Doing DaVinci will feature four designers and builders attempting to build military weapons that DaVinci designed but never constructed. An armored tank, multi-cannon machine gun, a self-propelled cart will be among the devices constructed.
College Life (premieres Monday, April 13 at 10:30PM ET/PT) College Life will consist of a group of freshmen attending University of Wisconsin-Madison as they chronicle their daily lives, along with all the drama and hard-partying that goes along with it. After initially approving of the idea to film the MTV show at the school, the University of Wisconsin withdrew its supportafter seeing early footage that emphasized the school's parties over its studies and allegedly didn't accurately portray what the life of a college student was. Really, University of Wisconsin? Really?
Deadliest Catch, Season 5 (premieres Tuesday, April 14 at 9PM ET/PT on Discovery) Deadliest Catch will once again follow the Northwestern, Time Bandit, Cornelia Marie and Wizard as they once again brave the high seas for another season of crab fishing. However, in addition to the usual torubles that come with the business, Deadliest Catch's fifth season will also feature footage of the rescue efforts for the Katmai, a ship that runs into serious trouble that tragically cost seven of the boat's fishermen their lives in the icy Bering Sea.
Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment(premieres Tuesday, April 14 at 10PM ET/PT on Discovery) There's nothing like a month-long hike across the Alaskan wilderness to get the blood pumping! Out of the Wild will feature nine amateur hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts as they look to channel their inner Survivorman when they are left in the harsh Alaskan environment to survive and find civilization after they are given only three days of training in basic survival skills as well as a rudimentary map, compass and a few basic tools. A second reality show should be given to the lawyers who wrote up Discovery's liability waivers for the show.
Nanny 911, season 4 (premieres Saturday, April 19 at 9PM ET/PT on CMT) Nanny 911's fourth season -- the show's first new episodes in several years in the first produced for CMT -- will continue to feature Nanny Deb as she travels from house to house and helps parents to control the minions they call their children. However, now that the show airs exclusively on CMT, the bulk of Deb's encouragement will be uttered using differing iterations of the phrase "Git 'er done!"
Cake Boss (premieres Sunday, April 19 on TLC) Because one cake-building show wasn't enough for cable television, TLC will roll Cake Boss, which will feature master baker Buddy Maestro and his family-run Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ. In addition to building a variety of over-complicated pastries, the show will also feature Maestro running his bakery and dealing with the everyday complications of delivering the complex cakes.
Build It Bigger (premieres Monday, April 20 at 10PM ET/PT on Science Channel) Professional architect Danny Forster returns for a new season of examples when "bigger" is truly "better" as he breaks down the unique architectural challenges behind some of the world's largest and most complex construction projects. Among the huge projects Forster will visit will be a widening of the Panama Canal, the construction Dallas Cowboys' new three-million-square-foot stadium, and the further inflation of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' ego.
The Phone (premieres Tuesday, April 21 at 10PM ET/PT on MTV) Ever wonder what Phone Booth would have been like if it starred Justin Timberlake instead of Keifer Sutherland. No? Well Timberlake apparently did, and he's rich, so deal with it. Each episode of the Timberlake-produced The Phone will feature four unknowing strangers who are surprised with a phone call, paired together, and led though a series of mental and physical challenges by a mysterious voice as they try to win the grand prize of up to $50,000.
New York Goes to Work (premieres Monday, May 4 at 10PM ET/PT on VH1) For everyone who's been clamoring for Tiffany "New York" Pollard to get a real job, this is probably as close as you're gonna get, unfortunately. New York Goes to Work will feature the VH1 reality star as she embarks on a new viewer-chosen odd job each week. If Pollard is able to impress her employers she'll get a $5,000 bonus. However, if she quits, fails or gets fired from her job, she'll receive nothing.
The Fashion Show (premieres Thursday, May 7 at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo) One would think that when if you're blatantly ripping off the format of a show that's departing your network, you would at least come up with a snappy title. That being said, The Fashion Show, Bravo's obvious attempt to replicate Project Runway, will feature 15 designers as they put their designs up against one another. However, unlike Runway, home viewer votes will decide who will win the competition and receive $125,000 and the "opportunity" to release their own clothing line and share some of the profits with Bravo.
Charm School, Season 3 (premieres Monday, May 11 at 9PM ET/PT on VH1) With VH1's Charm School franchise is running through "headmistresses" so quickly you'd think the job required them to date Brett Michaels. The show's third season -- dubbed Charm School with Ricki Lake -- will feature the former talk show host bringing her own personal flair to a group of former Real Chance of Love and Rock of Love Bus contestants. Lake will also take a different approach with the girls by having them take on real responsibilities at non-profit organizations for their challenges instead of their usual routines of drinking excessively on camera in a bikini.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey (premieres Tuesday, May 12 at 11PM ET/PT on Bravo) Take The Real Housewives of New York, drive it across the George Washington Bridge, put on a Giants jersey, crack some Italian mob jokes over the Springsteen record playing in the background and voila! TheReal Housewives of New Jersey will represent the fourth iteration of Bravo's TheReal Housewives franchise and will feature a pair of sisters and their sister-in-law as three of the five housewives participating in the show. Tony Soprano said it best, you gotta keep it in the family.
The Bachelorette, Season 5(premieres Monday, May 18 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC) Following DeAnna Pappas' humiliating rejection of Jason Mesnick, and Mesnick's subsequent public dumping of his fiance Melissa Rycroft, new The Bachelorette star Jillian Harris -- another Mesnick dumpee who finished The Bachelor's fourteenth-season as the second-runner-up -- can probably do anything short of murder and still come up as the most popular TheBachelor/The Bachelorette star in recent memory. However, enough speculation for the time being, let's all just watch everything play out and try not to get our hearts broken again.
So You Think You Can Dance, Season 5(premieres Thursday, May 21 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox) The show that executive producer Nigel Lythgoe bolted American Idol for returns for its fifth season, featuring a new group of dancers looking to be come America's next big dancing star. However, by the time the show actually premieres Idol may have already changed its judging rules so much that dancing is factored into the judges' decisions and the two shows are almost indestiguishable from one another.