It's time for a reality-TV reality check. Even top executives and producers admit that the genre has become tired — an overload of singing battles, food challenges, screaming housewives and dating competitions. "We've been in a huge reality drought," says Greg Goldman, the new president of Studio Lambert USA, which produces Undercover Boss.
The broadcast networks continue to coast on the enduring success of veteran franchises like Survivor, but they're not minting many new hits. In cable, the success of docuseries like the Real Housewives franchise and Love & Hip Hop has led to a glut of such shows.
But a shake-up may finally be on the way. CBS recently named a new head of reality TV, Chris Castallo, while Fox is looking to fill the top job in its alternative department (which infamous reality kingpin Mike Darnell vacated at the end of July). There's also a new head of unscripted TV at AMC, while TruTV and A&E, both big reality networks, have new bosses.
Got Fourth of July plans? We'll pencil in America's Lost Treasures (Wednesday, 9/8c, National Geographic Channel), folks. A cross between Antiques Roadshow and the high-school history class you skipped one too many times, the fascinating competition from Deadliest Catch executive producer Thom Beers features hosts Kinga Phillips and Curt Doussett as they scour the country for some seriously important artifacts worthy of being displayed in the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C.
Glenn and Mitchell Guist
When a young programming executive at the History channel first pitched the idea of following a group of Louisiana Cajuns who hunt alligators, "the poor guy got laughed out of the room," says the network's president, Nancy Dubuc. But instead of dropping the idea, he kept bringing it up — and kept getting laughed at.
"But by the fourth meeting, you had to pause," Dubuc says. "If somebody is as passionate as he was about something, what's the harm in letting them run with it?" That germ of an idea turned into Swamp People, an unlikely hit that ...
Captain Phil Harris
Captain Phil Harris' final voyage will air on Deadliest Catch's upcoming sixth season, TVGuide.com has confirmed.
Material for the series' new season, to debut in April, was shot in the weeks leading up to Harris...