From Thursday’s Washington Post:
CBS is bringing back “The Beverly Hillbillies.” This time, however, the family members we laugh at won’t be played by Hollywood actors; they’ll be real live rubes from the South. … The network already has a crew of casting agents combing “mountainous, rural areas” in Arkansas, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky in search of a “multi-generational family of five or more—parents, children and grandparents—who will be relocated for at least a year” to a mansion in Beverly Hills, said CBS spokesman Chris Ender. … The family will be given money—exactly how much hasn’t been determined—with which to buy expensive cars and designer suits, hire maids and personal assistants, and dine at hot West L.A. eateries.
Oct. 8, 2002
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, alarmed by declining ratings at his flagship Fox Network, has agreed to open his house to TV cameras and to two inner-city black children, Fox announced today. The show based on Murdoch’s adventures, tentatively titled Really Diff’rent Strokes, will air Sunday night after The Simpsons. Fox says Murdoch will keep the children as long as ratings are strong but retains the option of “returning” them.
Nov. 4, 2002
Just some good old boys? Never meanin’ no harm? TV viewers will be the judge of that when The Real Dukes of Hazzard premieres tonight at 8 on CBS. The network’s newest reality show will follow a family of marijuana growers as they get “in trouble with the law” in the backwoods of Appalachia. The Hazzard County Sheriff’s Department has said it will not cooperate with the production.
Nov. 16, 2002
Really Married …With Children debuts on the Fox TV network at 8:30 this evening. The half-hour “reality sitcom” will follow the adventures of the Radins, a family chosen after nationwide auditions. “Really Married will take the delightful family entertainment of the original Married …With Children and translate it into reality form,” said Fox spokesman John Bowman. “We were drawn to the Radins because of their venomous, collapsing marriage and the fact that they stay together only for the sake of their unbearable children.”
Dec. 24, 2002
Christian groups today praised ABC for its “brave” decision to air a Christmas Eve episode of Touched by a Real Angel. The fledgling reality TV program focuses on a young man who travels around the United States telling deeply troubled people that he is an angel sent by God to help them.
Jan. 7, 2003
CBS recruiters will be visiting honkytonks, country clubs, and skyscrapers this week in an attempt to lasso actual Texans for Real Dallas. Network spokesman Chris Ender says it shouldn’t be hard for the network to hire Texans whose real-life exploits can match the drama of the ‘80s prime-time soap opera. “After all, how hard can it be these days to find Texas energy executives who will lie, cheat, steal, cook the books, and buy off politicians in order to get rich?”
Jan. 16, 2003
Leading women’s rights groups today condemned NBC’s decision to produce I Really Dream of Jeanie, a reality show about a woman forced to live in a bottle and do the bidding of a male Air Force officer.
Feb. 10, 2003
Law-enforcement organizations today applauded GE and NBC for their plan to spend $6 million to rehabilitate an injured police officer. The network is currently canvassing hospitals for a suitable candidate, who will be rebuilt using cutting edge GE plastics, as an indestructible crime-fighting superman. The network says it hopes to produce a reality-TV series about the “bionic” project.
April 8, 2003
The junk hunt continues! ABC says it is still hoping to have a real-life version of the popular ‘70s sitcom Sanford and Son ready for its fall lineup. Network sources concede that production of the series has been delayed because of the difficulty in finding a junkyard owned by an elderly African-American with angina and a middle-aged son.
April 24, 2003
CBS, seeking to escape from the ratings cellar, has started scouting cast members for the Real Gilligan’s Island, a true-life version of the popular ‘60s show. CBS plans to maroon seven strangers on a desert island and force them to survive on their own. Said spokesman Chris Ender, “We feel Real Gilligan shows just how far reality TV has come since the days of Survivor.”