If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Apparently not. MTV has decided to implement a format change for the upcoming 29th season of The Real World. Per The Atlantic Wire, "[t]he season will initially feature the usual seven young people meeting each other for the first time and navigating various social dynamics. (These days that means getting too drunk and hitting on each other. Or just hitting each other.) But then, a month into the shoot, the kids will go on a trip only to find, upon their return home, that all of their exes have moved into the house. Dunh dunh dunh! What a twist — though, a twist better suited to something more unapologetically sleazy, like Big Brother or, uh, MTV's Real World spinoff The Challenge. Not that The Real World is some high-minded, noble endeavor at this point, far from it. But it has, with only a few minor variations, at least relied on the same relatively lo-fi, tried-and-true formula since the beginning and should, in this longtime viewer's estimation anyway, continue to do so. Without that central, defining conceit, it's just not The Real World anymore." Amen.
EW suggests that "the issue of the show’s ratings. The Real World has proved incredibly durable considering how much the reality genre has evolved, and how many reality shows have come and gone on MTV — the network has always prided itself on trying to find the next bright and trend-setting idea. Yet MTV has gone from ordering two Real Worlds a year, down to one as the show’s numbers have fallen — the most recent season averaged 1.5 million viewers."
Variety makes a great point by suggesting that even if the Ex-Plosion [this season's title] produces solid ratings for MTV, Real World will not be out of the woods. The trouble with a “surprise” gimmick launched at housemates is that, come hypothetical next season, new cast members may be expecting such a twist — the ex element will already be out of the toolbox, and a new one will have to be used. Thus, Ex-Plosion may place MTV and Bunim-Murray on the hamster wheel of format tweaks as they try to refresh the show each season."
Moving along, NBC is bringing back Last Comic Standing. I've always been a fan of this show and have gone to see a whole bunch of the comics who have appeared on the show, so for once, I applaud a reboot.
Per EW, "Discovery is launching a new survival series called Dude, You’re Screwed! The format might interest you, too. Have you ever watched Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild and thought you could likewise survive being dropped in some unknown remote location? Dude, You’re Screwed is similar. Five survival experts with different backgrounds (a Green Beret, a former Navy SEAL, etc) are 'kidnapped,' blindfolded, and then plopped into one of the world’s harshest environments (such as a jungle or a glacier). They each must make their way back to civilization unscathed within 100 hours. As each contestant tries to escape the wild, the other four contestants will watch and comment on their progress from a remote command center." Eh.
Andy Cohen is leaving his corporate role as a EVP of development at Bravo to run his new production company, Most Talkative. Cohen has a first-look deal to develop primetime shows for the net. He'll continue as host of Bravo's late-night talker, Watch What Happens Live, which was renewed for two years.
With her Vegas debut fast approaching, E! will air a 90-minute documentary about Britney Spears called I Am Britney Jean, following her as she preps for the two-year Planet Hollywood residency.
FXX canceled late-night talk show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which had relocated from FX. While the series drew respectable numbers on FX, without a strong lead-in on FXX, recent episodes drew as few as 12,000 viewers. Yikes.
Project Runway's Tim Gunn hosts new Lifetime fashion competition series, Under the Gunn, with a new crop of designers face challenges that test their style skills.
Discovery Channel has a sports docu-series on tap, showing professional athletes being taken through their paces by notoriously tough trainer, Mike Barwis. The pilot, which Funny or Die has already shot, features the NFL’s Tyrann Mathieu (AKA “The Honey Badger”) who has had a breakout rookie year with the Arizona Cardinals. Production begins in January on the other seven episodes. My friend at the net is already checking to see if there's room for me to work on this one . . . .
Check out this fantastic picture of Larry David "enjoying" a recent Knicks game.