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.
Ashley Rickards, Brett Davern
How did any of us survive high school? Forget grades. We're talking insecurities, anxieties and social terrors, which have rarely found such vivid comic voice as in MTV's wonderful comedy Awkward, which begins a third season of emotionally harrowing hilarity with back-to-back episodes (Tuesday, 10/9c).
It's junior year (or "the beginning of the end") for the show's self-consciously angsty narrator/blogger Jenna (the terrific Ashley Rickards), who you'd think might be in a happier place having spent the summer cocooned with full-time no-longer-secret boyfriend Matty (Beau Mirchoff). No such luck. With other friends having spent their off time in Europe, hooking up and changing their looks without keeping her in the loop, Jenna worries she's being sidelined, left behind, forgotten. It doesn't help that her sadistic tyrant of a new creative-writing teacher, the heartless Mr. Hart (Anthony Michael Hall), burrows into her fragile psyche with the very first assignment: "Write about your greatest fear." Where to begin?
As the stars of Deadliest Catch prepare to set sail for Season 9, someone is noticeably missing: Elliott Neese.
The captain of the Ramblin' Rose struggled throughout last season, even clashing with the ship's owner when he refused to move the ship out of harbor during a big ice storm.
There are no more Dirty Jobs.
Discovery Channel has canceled the reality show after eight seasons, creator and host Mike Rowe announced in a blog post Wednesday.
One of the network's...
Sarah Jessica Parker
Forget fresh air! There's no better way to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend than logging some serious quality-viewing time on the sofa watching endless hours of TV. But what to watch? Check out a selection of the many holiday-weekend marathons the networks have planned:
(All times are ET/PT)
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 ...
Machines of Glory
Discovery Channel is heading to the construction site for its next testosterone-fueled series. The cable network just picked up Machines of Glory, a new competition show that pits three crews of machine operators against each other in a series of hardhat battles.
A sign of things to come? Boardwalk Empire won a leading seven awards at the Creative Arts Emmys.
HBO's freshman drama took home statuettes Saturday night for casting, makeup, art direction, editing, visual effects, sound editing and cinematography. Game of Thrones and Mildred Pierce were also among the HBO programs recognized, bringing the cable channel's total tally to 15 wins.
See photos, nominees and more in our Emmys section
Boardwalk, which has already earned Golden Globes for the show and leading man Steve Buscemi, could do even more damage at next weekend's prime-time Emmy Awards, where the show looks to keep Mad Men from being named Outstanding Drama Series for a fourth consecutive year.
USA, TNT, AMC, FX
Rizzoli & Isles, meet Mark Burnett. Cable networks like TNT, USA, FX and AMC became scripted powerhouses while mostly ignoring reality TV — until now. All four networks have big plans to enter the reality arena in the coming year in a bid to keep up with the times.
Last week, TNT — known up until now as the home to dramas like Rizzoli — picked up the reality competition pilot Fortune Hunters, from ace reality producer Burnett. And over at AMC, the Mad Men network added two more reality projects to its plate: JJK Security, shot inside a real-life rural Georgia ...
Sesame Street's upcoming 42nd season promises a gaggle of celebrity guests who'll frolic with children and puppets — as well as some skits based on pop-culture references.
Speaking of those, Glee (in a skit called "G"), Deadliest Catch ("The Heaviest Catch"), the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ("SpiderMonster the Musical") and cooking competitions...