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AS if the industry wasn’t saturated with enough reality TV shows, more are on the horizon for the M-Net Series Reality channel.
Aside from the familiar such as TopChef, which returns on September 3, there are several brand-new offerings: Dukes of Melrose (September 6), Newlyweds: The First Year (September 12), Beauty and the Geek, Australia (September 12, this show is pretty self-explanatory) and OXO Betsey Johnson (September 20).
Call me cynical – although I would say I am justifiably so with all the insipid offerings I have sat through for the sake of a) being objective and b) doing my job as a TV writer.
But for those remote control surfers who are addicted to anything that claims to be reality TV, here’s what you can expect.
Dukes of Melrose follows Christos Garkinos (left) and Cameron Silver (right), owners of the couture store, Decades.
Renowned for their vintage and glamourous range, this 12-part series will pique the curiosity of fashionistas.
And Hollywood celebrities such as Rachel Harris and Mellisa McCarthy also feature in the Oscar Season episodes.
As is par for the course with a reality show, tantrums, arguments and that unavoidable ingredient called drama, surfaces.
In Newlyweds: The First Year, viewers are introduced to four couples – Kimberly V Cerebin, a celebrity stylist from the Bronx, and Alaska Gedeon, a director of artist and repertoire at Warner Bros; Jeff Pedersen, a federal investigator and Blair Late, a former European pop star turned entertainment journalist; Tina Sugandh, an Indian international pop star and Tarz Ludwigsen, the president and co-founder of a start-up internet company and, lastly, new parents Kathryn Bougadis and John Lagoudes.
The series looks at how, despite the couples not knowing each other, they go through similar situations as they adjust to married life. Riveting stuff, I’m sure – especially for the eight episodes for which the show was commissioned.
Some Einstein at a television network decided it would be entertaining to make a reality show with American fashion designer Betsey Johnson. Legendary for her OTT outfits and cart-wheeling her way into the applause at the end of her fashion shows, she certainly made an indelible impression on stars back in her heyday.
But, after 40 years in the industry, she filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Again, I ask, why does she merit a show now? The logic – and I use the word loosely – is for viewers to see her daughter, Lulu Johnson, and her start over again. Really warms the cockles of the heart, doesn’t it?
If such ideas can be sold, best I make a pitch for a reality show, too. The starved reality TV market in Hollywood seems too susceptible to anything right now. Hmm… maybe a behind-the-scenes look of our notoriously dreadful ANN7 news channel!