The Ultimate Guide to What's New in Reality TV
An amazing array of projects coming to cable and broadcast networks this fall and beyond
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/29/2004 8:00:00 PM
In four short years since Survivor became a breakaway success, reality TV has become the "it" genre. Two cable networks, The Fox Reality Channel and Reality 24-7, will debut showing nothing else, and the Reality TV channel is already available on Dish DBS systems. Below, we give a show-by-show synopsis of the hottest and most talked-about new reality shows. Hang this baby near the water cooler.
Film Fakers, premieres Oct. 27
The Hook: Aspiring actors think they have landed a part. But the production is a sham. The crew, the set and other actors are all fake.
Producer: City Lights Media
Mondo Magic, premieres Oct. 4
The Hook: Veteran magician Chris Korn and newcomer J.B. Benn tell the secrets of their trade.
Producer: Popular Arts
Project Runway, premieres Nov. 30
The Hook: Supermodel Heidi Klum hosts this competition between aspiring fashion designers. The winner gets a fashion show. No word if Klum will model.
Producer: Heidi Klum is executive producer for Miramax Television, Magical Elves.
Wanda Does It, premieres Oct. 5
The Hook: Comedian Wanda Sykes takes on odd jobs, like training to become a pilot or working at a Las Vegas casino.
Producer: Brick To The Head Productions, Comedy Central Productions
Caught, premieres Sept. 28
The Hook: A hidden-camera show catches crooks in the act. Experts break down the crime and show viewers how they can keep from getting ripped off.
Producer: Granada USA
Impossible Heists, premieres Jan. 12, 2005
The Hook: Court TV bills this as Ocean's 11 meets Survivor. Two teams must be able to pull off complicated heists, such as robbing a bank vault, in just 24 hours.
Producer: Outline Productions
Discovery Home Channel
Picture This, premieres Oct. 6
The Hook: This show's experts will help average people look and live like the pictures they see in fashion and furnishing magazines.
Producer: Christo Doyle
E! and Style
Hotspot: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, premieres Oct. 9 on Style
The Hook: Go inside Los Angeles' 75-year-old Roosevelt Hotel as the famed hotel gets a makeover and the staff struggles to get everything done. E! and Style will share the docu-reality show.
Producer: SideStreet Entertainment
I'd Do Anything, premieres Sept. 28
The Hook: What would you do for a chance to golf with Tiger Woods? Well, it won't be that easy. ESPN will hook sports nuts up with their fantasies, but only after a friend or family member tackles outrageous sports-related challenges.
Producer: ESPN Original Entertainment
American Dream Derby, premieres Jan. 2005
The Hook: GSN is casting jockeys, buying them horses and helping them train for a live race on Feb. 21.
Producer: Stone Stanley Entertainment
How Clean Is Your House, premieres Sept. 6
The Hook: British cleaning experts Kim and Aggie tackle American grime scenes in this U.K. reality import.
Producer: Fremantle North America
Laguna Beach: The Real O.C., premieres Sept. 28
The Hook: Part The Real World and part Beverly Hills: 90210, this reality drama follows seven wealthy teens and is produced like a scripted drama.
Producer: Gary Auerbach, Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley are executive producers.
Real Training Camp, premieres in October
The Hook: Get an inside look at life in the NBA, from training camp to the regular season.
Producer: Dion Cocoros is executive producer for NBA TV.
Best Friend's Date, premieres Dec. 3
The Hook: Your best friend selects four dates and then watches for sparks to fly or the dates to fall flat.
Producer: Rick de Oliveira is executive producer for the de Oliveira Entertainment Group.
Outdoor Life Network
Cowboy 101, premieres in October
The Hook: Cowboys and cowgirls try to make it as rodeo stars.
Producer: WETA and Eaton Creative
Sci Fi Channel
Proof Positive, premieres Oct. 6
The Hook: This is Sci Fi Channel's take on the forensics craze. Each episode tackles three sci-fi myths, like aliens and reincarnation, to test the truth behind the paranormal.
Producer: Cosgrove Meurer Productions
Ghost Hunters, premieres Oct. 6
The Hook: When there's something weird and it doesn't look good, call Ghost Hunters. These plumbers-turned-ghost-investigators explore and examine haunted houses.
Producer: Tom Thayer and Craig Piligian are executive producers for Pilgrim Films.
I Want To Be a Soap Star, premieres Oct. 16
The Hook: This search for a new soap diva pits six aspiring actors competing for a role on General Hospital. They will live full-time on the set of a soap.
Producer: LMNO Cable Group
Pinks, premieres Feb. 2005
The Hook: Drag racers compete, and winners gets the title—that's the pink slip—to the losers' hot rods.
Producer: Rich Christensen is executive producer for Pullin Television.
I Hate My Job,
premieres Oct. 12
The Hook: Rev. Al Sharpton plays life coach to four guys who quit their jobs and pursue their dream careers.
Producer: Joe Houlihan, Gayle Gilman, and Rick De Oliveira of RDF Media
The Mansion, premieres in October
The Hook: Big Brother meets Trading Spaces. Eight amateur remodelers move into a run-down Cincinnati estate where they compete to redo the house and, ultimately, win the keys.
Producer: Evolution Film & Tape
The Real Gilligan's Island, premieres in November
The Hook: Gilligan's Island reality-style with a new castaway crew trying to figure out how to get themselves off a deserted island.
Producers: Mike Fleiss is executive producer for Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures Productions.
Taking Care of Business, premieres Oct. 16
The Hook: Struggling small businesses are given a complete makeover from TLC's team of turnaround experts.
Producer: Michael Klein is executive producer for
The Benefactor, premieres Sept. 13
The Hook: Billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban plays the Donald Trump role. On The Benefactor, 16 contestants compete for $1 million by performing a series of tasks.
Producer: David Young, Clay Newbill, Todd Wagner, executive producers, for 12 Yard Productions, Dog-Fight Industries, 2929 Productions
Wife Swap, premieres Sept. 29
The Hook: Based on the British series of the same name, mothers from two families switch for two weeks. Also in the works for later on is Husband Swap and Boss Swap.
Producer: Creator and executive producer is Stephen Lambert. Executive producers also include Jenny Crowther and Michael Davies, RDF Media and Diplomatic Productions.
Supernanny, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Based on the British hit of the same name, a professional nanny moves into the homes of troubled families and tries to help.
Producer: Created and executive produced by Nick Powell for Ricochet, Ltd.
The Two Timer, not yet scheduled
The Hook: A Hollywood bachelor who thinks of himself as a player dates multiple women, initially without any of them knowing about it.
Producer: Mike Fleiss for Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures
America's Next Diva (working title), not yet scheduled
The Hook: Contestants try to replace Martha Stewart while she's, um, gone.
Producer: Eric Schotz and Bill Paolantonio.
Nightmare on Elm Street: Real Nightmares, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Nightmare on Elm Street fiend Freddy Krueger, played by actor Robert Englund, hosts the series. Real people confront their greatest fears.
Producer: Jon Kroll is executive producer for New Line Television.
Recovery, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Law enforcement veterans attempt to find abducted children.
Producer: Mark Burnett is executive producer for Mark Burnett Productions.
Rock Star, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Australian rock band INXS' searches for a new lead singer to replace the late Michael Hutchence. Contestants are whittled down weekly by the band, viewers and judges.
Producer: Mark Burnett, David Goffin, David Edwards and Michael Murchison are executive producers for Mark Burnett Productions.
Fire Me…Please, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Based on BBC's The Sack Race. Two comedians take jobs at companies where they try to get fired by bosses who aren't in on the joke.
Producer/Studio: Colin Jarvis and Robin Meltzer are executive producers for LMNO Productions and BBC Worldwide Productions.
The Will, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Heirs to a family fortune compete to claim the inheritance.
Producer: Mike Fleiss is executive producer for Next
Entertainment in association with Telepictures.
The Complex: Malibu, premieres Aug. 30
The Hook: Based on the Australian hit, The Block, in this series two couples makeover apartments. The units are sold at auction, with the couple that makes more keeping the whole kitty. Sears has a product tie-in.
Producer: Ted Haimes is executive producer for FremantleMedia North America.
The Next Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best, premieres Nov. 9
The Hook: British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, challenges 16 people with tasks that will determine if they have what it takes to become a billionaire. They travel the world to do it.
Producer: Jon Murray, Richard Branson, Lori Levin-Hyams, Kevin Lee, Laura Fuest and Tod Dahlke are executive producers.
The Next Great Champ, premieres Sept. 7
The Hook: The actual hook is its scheduling. It gets on the air before NBC's The Contender, but there's a court battle that could change that. Hosted by boxer Oscar de la Hoya, it follows 12 aspiring boxers as they compete for a contract and a fight in a World Boxing Organization match.
Producer: Paul Buccieri, Joe Livecchi, Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer are executive producers for Endemol USA in association with Golden Boy Promotions.
The Partner, premieres Nov. 7
The Hook: Young Ivy League lawyers are challenged by lawyers from less prestigious schools in mock trials.
Producer: Jean-Michel Michenaud and Chris Cowan are executive producers for Rocket Science Laboratories.
Renovate My Family (formerly Family Time), premieres Sept. 1
The Hook: Jay McGraw (son of Dr. Phil) stars. Part makeover show and part self-help instruction. A family in crisis has their home and lives overhauled.
Producer: Jean-Michel Michenaud, Chris Cowan and Ray Giuliani are executive producers for Rocket Science Laboratories.
Hell's Kitchen (working title), not yet scheduled
The Hook: Aspiring chefs work in a new L.A. restaurant under the direction of noted chef Gordon Ramsay, who axes one loser a week. The winner gets his or her own eatery.
Producer: Paul Jackson and Arthur Smith are executive producers for Granada Entertainment and A. Smith & Co.
The Contender, premieres in November
The Hook: Fox gets a head start with The Next Great Champ, but NBC's boxing series has Sylvester Stallone . Fox has amateur boxers; NBC has professionals. Contestants duke it out for $1 million.
Producer: Sylvester Stallone, Mark Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg are executive producers for Mark Burnett Productions, DreamWorks Television and Rogue Marble.
American Princess, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Can American women be transformed into ladies suitable to mingle with proper Brits?
Producer: Laura Fuest Lori Kaye and David Rupel are executive producers.
Average Jane, not yet scheduled
The Hook: It's Average Joe in reverse. An average looking woman tries to find romance with a hunk. (Average Joe 3 is also coming.)
Producer: Stuart Krasnow and Andrew Glassman are executive producers for NBC Universal Television and Krasnow Productions.
The Biggest Loser, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Fatties diet and exercise to trim down.
Producer: Ben Silverman, David Broome and J.D. Roth are executive producers for. Reveille, NBC Universal Television and 3 Ball Productions.
The Hilton Project, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Paris' mom, Kathy Hilton, takes regular folk and, with the help of lifestyle experts, prepares them for New York City's cultural elite. The winner gets a snazzy car, new clothes and a new job.
Producer: Paul Buccieri, Jason Hervey and Rick Hilton are executive producers for Endemol USA.
The Sports Illustrated Fresh Faces Competition, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Finalists from a search will live together—and pose a lot. Viewers pick the winner, who gets a $1 million contract and is featured in the coveted SI cheesecake issue.
Producer: Patty Ivins, Roy S. Johnson, Terry McDonnell, Julie Pizzi and Gavin Palone are executive producers for Pariah, PB&J Television and Sports Illustrated.
Untitled David E. Kelley project, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Lawyers compete against one another on real cases. One lawyer is booted every week; the winner gets cash.
Producer: David E. Kelley is executive producer for Oseola Productions.
Design Intervention, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Trading Spaces designer Vern Yip helps a family finish a house.
Producer: NBC Studios in association with One Ladder and Revolution
Double or Nothing, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Set in Las Vegas, contestants sell everything they own and bet it all on one roulette wheel spin.
Producer: Eric Schotz and Bill Paolantonio are executive producers for LMNO Productions.
Extreme Reunion, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Long-lost family members and friends are found and brought back together.
Producer: Eric Schotz and Bill Paolantonio are executive producers for LMNO Productions.
High Life, not yet scheduled
The Hook: The Beverly Hillbillies by another title, but not the same show CBS talked about earlier. In both, hicks move to ritzy Beverly Hills.
Producer: Ken Mok is executive producer.
Life is Too Short, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Verne Troyer (Mini-Me in Austin Powers) and other actors short in stature share a house designed for them.
Producer: Mark Cronin and Elena Fondacaro are executive producers for Mindless Entertainment.
America's Most Talented Kids, premieres Oct. 3
The Hook: Kids ages 3-15 dance, crack jokes and make rabbits disappear in front of a panel of judges.
Producer: Stuart Krasnow, Peter Johansen and Mark Cronin for Mindless Entertainment
Cold Turkey, premieres Oct. 3
The Hook: Ten chain smokers are surprised that they won't be on the cool reality show they were told about, but instead will be sequestered for three weeks without their smokes.
Producer: Stuart Krasnow and John Holmes are executive producers for Visual Frontiers.
Model Citizens, premieres Oct. 4
The Hook: Hosted by former Miss USA finalist Larissa Meek, five models travel the country doing good deeds, such as cleaning up shorelines and landscaping community centers.
Producer: Bradley Anderson and Mack Anderson are executive producers for First Television.
Second Verdict, premieres Oct. 5
The Hook: Participants watch videotape of a real trial and then become a jury of their own. After their "verdict," they discover how the real jury decided.
Producer: Dave Harding is executive producer for Second Verdict Productions and Kimo-Jagger Productions.
Regency House Party, premieres Nov. 3
The Hook: Jane Austen lives. Ten modern-day men and women looking for love go "back in time" and spend nine weeks living in a 200-year-old English countryside mansion, along with the styles and social protocol of the early 19th century.
Producer: Wall to Wall Television and Thirteen/WNET New York.
The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Hip-hop artist Missy Elliott tours nationwide with 13 singers; one emerges as a star.
Producer: Arnold Shapiro, Allison Grodner, Mona Scott, Jay Blumenfield and Anthony Marsh are executive producers for Shapiro/Grodner Productions in association with Monami.
Big Man on Campus, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Sorority sisters choose the hottest frat guy on campus, and then he picks his queen.
Producer: Mike Fleiss is executive producer for Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures.
High School Reunion, not yet scheduled
The Hook: "Whatever happened to that totally hot guy I had a crush on in high school?" Classmates reunite 10 years after graduation to find out.
Producer: Mike Fleiss is executive producer for Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures Productions.
Wannabes, not yet scheduled
The Hook: Hollywood hopefuls live together and compete against one another. The winner gets a show on The WB.
Producer: Jamie Kennedy is executive producer for Telepictures.
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