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JOANIE AND CHACHI AFTER HOURS – B-LIST REALITY TV NEWS: It’s been called everything from the guilty pleasure of the summer to a sign of the imminent fall of western civilization, but the big news on Victoria Beckham: Coming To America, was how badly it performed on both sides of the Atlantic. In Britain, the Simon Fuller-produced show only pulled in 3.5 million viewers, while in America it was rejected even more soundly, with just 5 million viewers, which didn’t prevent rebroadcasting the show again last Thursday.
The show was originally projected to run six episodes, but was trimmed down to a single hour-long special, and even its credentials as a reality TV show are being questioned, with the news that not only was the “new personal assistant” to the celebrity still known as Posh Spice played by an actor, but so was the traffic cop and several other as-yet-unnamed, uh, characters – I guess we have to call them characters now, right?
In a USA Today post-mortem on the show’s flop, Entertainment Weekly senior editor Nicholas Fonseca speculated that the basic problem was that the Beckhams aren’t really stars over here “There are plenty of people who truly don't know who she is,” he said, though that doesn’t explain why the show did so badly in England. US Weekly editor in chief Janice Min told USA Today that “I got the sense with Posh that (interest in her) was manufactured by the media,” which is rich considering that Min and Fonseca work for the media outlets that do most of the manufacturing.
Obviously someone forgot to turn off the machines, since EW published Mandi Bierly’s revisionist take on the show late last week, with the writer admitting that Posh “was simply too amusing for me to hate her … Am I really going to downgrade Baby?” She actually makes a convincing case, and almost – almost – makes me with I saw the thing.
Other summer train wreck reality shows that have benefitted from a good write-up include Scott Baio is 45 ... And Single and Rock Of Love, starring Poison singer Bret Michael. The VH1 shows were given a shamefacedly enthusiastic write-up by The Onion A.V. Club, which featured a brief description of a reunion lunch between Baio and Erin “Joanie” Morin that sounds priceless. Not that anyone who was alive then would be surprised, but Baio lost his virginity to his former co-star; cherished by the writer for its “moist, pathetic ugliness,” the scene contains the “fun fact” that “ the word Chachi sends Baio into a rage.” Sadly, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
UNLEASH HELL! – A-LIST REALITY TV NEWS: Fox has renewed Hell’s Kitchen and So You Think You Can Dance for fourth seasons to air next summer, according to a story in Zap2it. Both shows are doing as well or better than they were last summer, and have contributed to Fox’s reputation as the network that owns summer. They’re also my personal favourite summer shows, which only proves that, at least for three months of the year, my taste rules the airwaves. Bow down to me.