Reality News Update, September 30: Amazing Race, Big Brother, Restaurant Renewed, Other New Shows Comingby David Bloomberg -- 09/30/2003
We’ve had some big news for future reality TV in the past few days, from old shows getting renewed to new shows joining the fun. We’ve got the latest on Big Brother, The Amazing Race, The Restaurant, Cupid, a show about cutting hair, one about a casino, and one that takes place in jail.
We’ve seen rumors for a few weeks now that The Amazing Race had been renewed for a fifth season, but nothing precisely official. Indeed, when the show won an Emmy last week, executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer noted backstage, "You know what feels great about winning? We still haven't been renewed, so this feels wonderful. CBS, are you watching?" Apparently they were.
The 13-episode show will apparently once again air in the summer, in an attempt to duplicate its ratings success this year, in which it averaged over 8.4 million viewers per episode and stood out in a summer full of reality TV shows. However, the possibility remains that it could air as a mid-season replacement in the Spring. Pre-production work has already started, as has casting. You can apply on CBS’s website (if you get on the show, just remember who sent you to the application!).
One thing that might worry fans of the show is that executive producer Bertam van Munster indicated there would be “drastic changes” to keep the show fresh, but he won’t actually outline any of the changes. He did promise viewers would be “in for a big surprise.” Hopefully, this show won’t go the way of so many others in adding new “twists” that end up taking away from the overall likeability of the show.
Congratulations to The Amazing Race for the Emmy win and its renewal. I know the staff and readers of RealityNewsOnline are already anticipating the fifth season.
At the same time as the announcement for the renewal of the critically-acclaimed Amazing Race series, CBS also said they would renew the not-so-acclaimed Big Brother for the summer of 2004. No matter what critics thought or what fans thought of the final two of Alison and Jun, the fourth season was the most successful ever, with an average of 8.8 million viewers per episode – three times a week!
In previous years, CBS had not officially picked up the series again until February, so this early renewal date shows just how happy the network is with BB. Casting will begin in February, but you can apply now at CBS’s website (once again, remember us if you make it!).
Nothing has been revealed about what twists we can expect next year. Perhaps it will all be twins who were separated at birth or gang members from adjacent prison cells or something. You know, I probably shouldn’t be giving them any ideas.
Two other shows under discussion for renewal include NBC’s The Restaurant and CBS’s Cupid.
While NBC has indeed ordered new episodes of The Restaurant for late in the season (rather than the summer, when it originally aired), details about what the series will actually show are sketchy. For example, they don’t know if Rocco DiSpirito will be the focus of the show again or if they will once again follow the opening of a new restaurant with a new chef – or both. (Adding my own two cents – fans who have talked to me about the show would like to see them revisit Rocco. We heard so many times about how a large percentage of restaurants go out of business in the first 12 months, it would be nice to see how he is doing after a while and why his restaurant is different from those which go out of business.)
As for Cupid, CBS is in discussions about whether to bring the show back, but nothing firm has been decided.
Besides renewing The Restaurant, the same producers are also working towards a new show for NBC that would take the same sort of storyline but in a different area. Rumors indicate that rather than a restaurant, a casino would be the location for this new show.
But other shows are also in progress, one of which would take place in a jail and one in a hair salon.
The jail one comes to us from MTV. Working with Endemol, they will shortly filming the show Inside in the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, Texas, if approved by the Commissioner’s Court. The idea is to follow one or two new inmates all the way through the process from their plea to completing the jail term.
The executive producer said, “It’s a look at the reality of what it is to be thrown in jail for the first time, and how it affects a young person.” She added that the show is “meant to be a preventative series for young people who think that going to jail is a cool thing.” Um. Okay, maybe I’m totally disconnected from the youth of America here – but are there really kids who think going to jail is cool?! And just what will they be showing to discourage them? Gang rape? Stabbings? It seems to me that the most discouraging factors probably can’t air on TV or would at least certainly take place away from the cameras.
It should be noted that this series is different from the one that Mo Rocca is working on which also involves prisoners.
Finally, we come to Making the Cut, a new show that will feature aspiring hairdressers. I can hardly contain my excitement. However, the producers are apparently serious, as David Martin, Fox TV’s executive vice president of alternative productions has said that, “It’s almost like American Idol meets The Restaurant in a hairdressing salon.” I’m pretty sure he was serious, but I really find it hard to read that with a straight face.
Apparently, the show will feature the opening of a new hair salon in New York and an experienced hairdresser, Rodney Cutler, who mentors hairdresser wannabes and helps them get into the business. In fact, the best in the group will get a chance to work some sort of big event – a photo shoot or a fashion show or the like. I guess that’s the “prize.”
Although the series is being produced by Fox TV, it will not necessarily air on Fox and is being shopped around. According to Martin, it has already attracted interest from several networks. Sorry, I just don’t get it.
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