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Reality Television

Already turned into a national joke by Fox's special "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?," so-called reality television has received another blow, with a contestant on a soon-to-be-televised CBS survival contest being investigated on allegations of child abuse. The avant-garde CBS program, "Survivor," isolated 16 strangers on the remote Malaysian island of Pulau Tiga, near Borneo.
February 25, 2014 | By Adam Tschorn
Times readers first met the force of nature that is former model turned shepherdess Natalie Redding back in a 2011 Image section profile of the Southern California resident and her one-woman artisanal wool-gathering operation. Now a wider audience will get a chance to meet Redding -- along with the various and sundry two-legged and four-legged members of flock and family -- when “Shear Madness,” a reality show centered on her Temecula-based Namaste Farms premieres on National Geographic's Nat Geo Wild channel March 1. After screening a rough cut of the first episode -- titled “Totally Flocked,” which found her and her family (husband Sean and a brood of five children that ranges from 6-year-old Roanie to 22-year-old Connery)
June 26, 1993
Reality television--the death of imagination. KARON AGHOTTE-RICE Calabasas
December 26, 2013 | By David Horsey
The A&E cable channel has a huge hit show in “Duck Dynasty” and a huge PR problem with the star of the show, Phil Robertson, who will not back down from comments he has made disparaging homosexuals and questioning whether blacks really had it so bad in the days of segregation and Jim Crow. And A&E's even bigger problem is that their leverage over Robertson and his clan is slight. Yes, the network has suspended Papa Robertson from participation in the show, but the family is not inclined to tell their patriarch to shut up. With offers from other channels already coming in, they know their TV franchise is portable.
December 27, 2009 | By Jon Caramanica
This country has yet to create a reality television auteur on the scale of Jade Goody, the former dental technician who by the time of her death from cervical cancer in March had become one of England's household names, thanks strictly to her roles on reality shows and the doors they opened for her. Goody's health began to decline last year, after she learned of her condition while appearing on "Bigg Boss," the Indian version of "Big Brother," which...
July 5, 2009 | Michael Rothfeld
Would state budget negotiations be more fruitful as a reality television show? In a Capitol notorious for secret deals hashed out by powerful leaders, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he would enjoy televising or webcasting some of the talks on the state's fiscal crisis. His counterparts in the Legislature say they are willing to give it a try. So far, their approaches have led to a deficit that has swollen to $26.
November 3, 2012 | By Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times
"Redneck Island" hardly sounds like a welcoming place for a gay man. But Adam Freeman, a Nashville hairstylist who came out of the closet four years ago, shipped out to CMT's reality show this year for several weeks, finishing unscathed and in second place. A niche version of CBS' long-running mega-hit "Survivor," the program featured hunting, bowling and fishing events in which Freeman competed against proudly beer-chuggin' good ol' boys and country gals. The father of five was open about his sexual orientation and says his only regret was not packing "enough lip gloss and hair spray.
August 22, 2012 | By Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times
Over the weekend, Ryan Lochte celebrated his five Olympic medals the way any red-blooded American male would do: by heading to Las Vegas, slipping into a tiny, star-spangled hot-pink Speedo, and partying alongside Prince Harry. Lochte's Sin City revelry capped off a week-long promotional blitz by the swimmer and aspiring actor, including a cameo on the CW soap "90210," a stroll down the red carpet at the premiere of "The Expendables 2," a striptease performance for Giuliana Rancic and Joan Rivers on E!
April 23, 2013 | By Eric Pincus
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has expanded his reach beyond the basketball court, writing pop-culture essays on his blog at the Huffington Post . The six-time NBA champion takes on reality television in a thoughtful, critical analysis of the genre. "Those who refuse to watch, based on some misguided cultural snobbery, aren't just missing great entertainment, they are overlooking the best social insight into the American psyche since Huck Finn and Jim explored the soul of America on a raft of lost innocence," writes Abdul-Jabbar.
June 26, 2010 | By Matea Gold and Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
Even by reality television standards, the showdown in the Season 1 finale of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" was epic: A furious Teresa Giudice screamed at fellow cast member Danielle Staub that she was a "prostitution whore," then yanked a table into the air, sending dishes crashing to the ground. Watching the drama were Staub's noticeably alarmed daughters, then 11 and 15, whose mother had kept them in the room for the exchange. New Jersey prohibits minors from appearing in entertainment productions dangerous to their "life, limb, health or morals."
December 16, 2013 | By Nicole Santa Cruz
Police detectives Monday announced a $75,000 reward in the killing of a reality television director at his Glassell Park home in hopes of drumming up more leads in the case. James Marcus Howe , 42, and his wife were in their home shortly before 11 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving when a person posing as a solicitor knocked on the door. Two people then ambushed the couple, and a struggle ensued. One of the intruders pulled out a handgun and fatally shot Howe. His wife, Danae, survived, but Howe died at the scene.
December 15, 2013 | KTLA
Los Angeles police and city officials will announce a $75,000 reward for information in the fatal shooting of a reality TV director and writer who was killed in a home-invasion robbery at his Glassell Park home the day before Thanksgiving. James Marcus Howe was attacked Nov. 27 when he answered his front door after hearing a knock, authorities said. When he opened the door, three people stormed into the house, shooting and killing Howe and seriously injuring his wife. Their 6-year-old was not injured.
December 7, 2013 | By Richard Winton and Alicia Banks
Two Los Angeles police detectives went door-to-door Friday in a search for clues in the shooting death of TV writer-director James Marcus Howe at his Glassell Park home. Howe's wife was wounded in the attack that occurred the day before Thanksgiving after a man posing as a salesman knocked on their door about 10:55 a.m. When Howe and his wife approached the front door, they saw the man alone. Within seconds, another man and a woman forced their way into the home, police said.
November 20, 2013 | By David Horsey
A half-century ago, John F. Kennedy, Walter Cronkite and Marilyn Monroe were celebrities in their own spheres, but they stayed in their spheres. JFK never tried to be anything but a political figure, Cronkite never strayed from journalism and Marilyn was a movie star, not a pundit or a politician. A great deal has changed since then. Now, in a time when Sarah Palin has been a vice presidential candidate, a commentator on Fox News and host of her own reality TV show, the walls that used to divide politics, journalism and entertainment have a lot of swinging doors.
November 19, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The Writers Guild of America-East, which has been trying to unionize writers of "reality" shows for years now, is just out with a new report on the mistreatment of these wage slaves in the ever-burgeoning and fabulously profitable entertainment segment. How profitable? The average margins at the cable channels that depend on what is prettily described as "nonfiction" television run as high as 60%, the guild says. And why not? Overhead is low, on-air talent comes cheap. Even a modestly budgeted cable scripted show -- the guild cites "Royal Pains," a very entertaining show in its fifth season on the USA Network -- can cost up to $2.5 million an episode; a nonfiction show on the History channel tops out at $425,000, and some are as cheap as $100,000.
October 21, 2013 | By Elisabeth Donnelly
Over the course of five books, A.S. King has established herself as a singular voice in today's young adult literature. She brings vivid life to realistic kids working through raw deals, from the death of a friend in Printz honor winner "Please Ignore Vera Dietz," to a girl coming to terms with her sexuality in the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner "Ask the Passengers. " (Her pirate-flavored debut, "The Dust of 100 Dogs," is an exception, yet it establishes the magical realism that colors her work.)
December 1, 2004 | Maria Elena Fernandez
FX, the basic cable network that is home to three distinguished and controversial dramas, is giving reality television a second chance with an unscripted series by the writer and director of "Super Size Me," the documentary that chronicled his fast-food odyssey. "30 Days," which will premiere next summer, will place an individual in an environment that is antithetical to his or her beliefs, upbringing, religion or profession for one month.
October 17, 2013 | By Cathleen Decker
Take heart, Bob Filner. You've been dumped as San Diego mayor and had to admit, in court, that you're a serial assailant. But there is life after public humiliation. Sometimes, however, it's just a different kind of public humiliation. Edwin Edwards, the former four-term governor of Louisiana, a legend who used suitcases of cash to pay off his gambling debts and was known as “the Silver Zipper” for his womanizing, is treading yet another path to redemption. Out of federal prison, where the Democrat served more than eight years for fraud, racketeering and extortion, he's married to a former pen-pal five decades younger who just gave birth to their son. And he's about to hit reality TV. The third Mrs. Edwards will, on the night of Oct. 27, become “The Governor's Wife,” to the uncertain benefit of A&E viewers.
October 3, 2013 | By Scott Collins
NBC is hoping to get a space-travel reality show off the ground this time.  The network is teaming up with producer Mark Burnett and billionaire Richard Branson to make "Space Race," a competition series that would send the winner up in SpaceShipTwo, a commercial space-travel service from Branson's Virgin Galactic. The series could offer Virgin a key opportunity to plug its services.  FULL COVERAGE: Fall TV preview 2013 "Virgin Galactic's mission is to democratize space, eventually making commercial space travel affordable and accessible to all," Branson wrote in a statement.
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