Tuesday July 8, 2014

Is there any chance in hell that Bachelor In Paradise will be worth watching?  E! reports that "[t]he ABC hit franchise's producers decided to shake things up this summer. Rather than have former contestants compete for money (and maybe romance) on Bachelor Pad, they invited fan favorites to come to Tulum, Mexico for the sole purpose of finding true love with another person who has faced the brutal rejection that is leaving The Bachelor and/or Bachelorette without a rose.  

"But it seems like taking a cash prize out of the equation hasn't eliminated any of the drama if our exclusive sneak peek at Bachelor in Paradise, premiering Monday, Aug. 4, is any indication!"

And why on earth would they choose to show the dramatic reveal of Chris Harrison telling the remaining players about Eric Hill's death on last night's episode?  Per TV Guide, "[o]n Monday's episode, following Andi's hometown dates with Marcus, Josh, Nick and Chris, host Chris Harrison sat the five down in his living room to explain what had happened. Viewers watched as the group was given the shocking news and as Andi broke down remembering her last conversation with Eric. Eventually, the episode turned to a one-on-one with Andi, followed by a melancholy rose ceremony in which Andi again wondered how to celebrate the next phase of her journey amidst such tragedy.

Talking about the show's decision to film Andi and the guys' reaction to the news, Harrison says he has no doubt they did the right thing.

"'After watching it all back and seeing how it was edited together, I stand by it even more,' he tells TVGuide.com. 'There were people within the show that didn't want us to shoot us talking to Andi and the guys and those that didn't want it to be televised at all, but I vehemently disagreed and fought like crazy to shoot it and eventually use it.'

"At the time, Harrison admits, he didn't think the footage would make it to air. 'We thought, "Let's shoot it so we'll have it, deal with it and go from there,"' he says. 'We weren't sure we'd ever use it anyway and were pretty sure we wouldn't. [Creator] Mike Fleiss called me and said, "I'm sorry we shot this," and I said, "We had to." I 100 percent backed him up. I don't think you get to pick and choose when you shoot things and when you turn the cameras off. This show is built on the fact that we show you everything and just because something is uncomfortable for me or the producers, we all of a sudden turn the cameras off? It seems hypocritical.' The cast, he says, agreed. 'None of them came back and said, "Why did you do this?" They knew this wasn't a contrived moment.'"

Epic fail.

FYI network premieres Married At First Sight tonight.  Per The Hollywood Reporter, "[f]rom a pool of more than 600 individuals, four specialists — psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona, psychologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz (?!?!?), sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff and spiritualist Greg Epstein — used 'scientific methods' to narrow down these determined human lab rats down into three couples, who do not even know one another's names before they walk down the aisle. It's not that the idea of arranged marriages (or matchmaking) is anything new, certainly, but the show takes it to unnecessary extremes, devaluing any purported loftier purpose. The men and women range from ages 26 to 33 and see the process as one that easily will find them their soul mate, whereas the experts are using the institution of marriage to make these couples more serious about relationships and working things out together. Of course, how serious do they have to be if they are given the option of divorce after a month? 

"The appeal of this 'radical new social experiment' is, naturally, in the train-wreck nature of its proceedings. And while the show's participants mostly seem genuine, if somewhat deluded, it's the experts who are really to blame for making any of this seem even remotely viable as an experiment or otherwise. If the couples decide to stay married after the initial month, one can assume it's only because they're still shell-shocked at what they've just done."

"Netflix is staging a Newsroom reunion. The Newsroom's Sam Waterston will co-star in the streaming service's 13-episode comedy Grace and Frankiestarring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

"The single-camera comedy centers on nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. The women, much to their dismay, find that their lives are permanently intertwined and, much to their surprise, find they have each other."

Per Deadline, "Lifetime has ordered eight episodes ofUndone With @AmandadeCadenet, for premiere July 24 at 10:30 PM. The live half-hour female-driven weekly talk series, hosted by The Conversation‘s Amanda de Cadenet, will explore hot topics trending in pop culture and feature interviews with celebrities or newsmakers, the network said today."

The weekly series has received an eight-episode order set to begin July 24. It's not technically late-night, airing at 10:30 p.m., but it marks yet another development in the busy arena of talk. And it also will tape live, with de Cadenet exploring hot topics, pop culture and interviews with celebrities or newsmakers.  Huh??

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are an item?  So are Michelle Rodriguez and Zac Efron.  And Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello.

Per TV Guide, "[i]n reality TV, popular formats never really die — think the frequently revived Candid Camera — they just go into hibernation. Next to awaken is American Gladiators.

"Executive producer Arthur Smith (Hell's Kitchen), who has turned the competition series American Ninja Warrior into a summer smash for NBC, is giving the 1990s syndicated hit (briefly brought back in 2008 by NBC) a modern makeover.

"'It's a little darker, more intense, more serious,' says Smith, who's producing the show through his A. Smith & Co. banner with MGM. 'It's a little less red, white and blue. And there's no spandex. Spandex has left the building.'

"In a nod to modern times, Smith says the new American Gladiators will incorporate elements inspired by the popularity of both The Hunger Games and mixed martial arts. 'Times have changed,' he says. 'This one is tonally different. It's more post-apocalyptic. But it's the same spirit.'

"Smith says he's been developing his Gladiators reboot for the past seven months and will shop it to broadcast and cable networks in the coming weeks. . . . Casting will get under way after it lands a home; he's also waiting to tailor Gladiators to its eventual network partner."  Good luck.

CNBC premieres Restaurant Startup tonight.  According to the show's official description on CNBC's website, "[o]n Restaurant Startup restaurateur and TV personality Joe Bastianich and chef and restaurant operator, Tim Love, vie against each other to invest their own money in food concepts they believe will make them millions. Each week, two teams will make their case to our investors, Joe Bastianich and Tim Love, for a shot at launching a temporary version of their great concept for a restaurant or a specialty food shop. Then we'll open the doors and test the concept on the public. At the end of the process, our two investors will decide whether or not they will put their own money on the line to make someone's dreams come true."  Seems contrived and like we've seen this all before.  I like Bastianich, who you'll recognize from the MasterChef franchise and am curious to see what type of persona he gives off on this one.