Thursday, January 6, 2011

Preview of Reality 2011

Big Brother may have died, Don't Stop Believing may have flopped and Gamu may have taken The X Factor to a whole new stratosphere of silliness, but as we head into 2011 the world of reality TV looks in rude health. Despite constant derision from TV snobs, the next 12 months promise to be an absolute cracker for RTV fanatics with new and old formats providing us with months of entertainment. Keep reading for Reality Bites' verdict on the shows that will be getting the nation talking this year.

Dancing On Ice sharpens up
With a new set, a new home, an increased lineup of celebs and a whole bunch of new pro skaters, Dancing On Ice has come back buffed and polished for 2011. Phil and Holly will still look after proceedings and Torvill and Dean will come back to bring an air of authority to things, but with an intriguing group of stars (Kerry Katona, Jennifer Metcalfe and Vanilla Ice should keep the tabloids happy) and a reduced judging panel (cut from a cluttered-up five to a tidy three), the sixth series might just capture the imaginations of those who have previously let the world of triple axels and headbangers pass them by.

Got 2 Dance,
Davina moves on from Big Brother
We're not sure if we're over the death of Big Brother quite yet - the distinctly underwhelming Famous and Fearless is currently rubbing salt in our Celeb BB wounds - but Davina McCall appears to be coping better than most following the show's demise. Not only is she already back for a second series of Sky1's super cool Got To Dance, but she'll also be launching a revamped UK version of The Biggest Loser on ITV1 next week. Whether British viewers will take to the hit US weight loss show remains to be seen, but with Davina at the helm it will most definitely be an improvement on the dire Kate Garraway incarnation.

The Only Way Is Essex in 2011 (I've never watched this but apparently people do)
Pitched as a UK version of The Hills, The Only Way Is Essex by all rights should have been a disaster. But the romances, affairs, fake boobs and strangely fascinating lives of Essex's most notorious socialites were impossible to ignore. Making stars out of Amy Childs and Mark Wright, the format has the potential to become the next decade's Big Brother. We don't know about you guys, but we'll be touching up our vajazzling and munching down on Nanna Pat's sausage plait all over again when the ITV2 show returns for a second run later this year.

MasterChef doesn't get tougher than this
We're sworn to secrecy about the details of the new series of MasterChef, but take our word for it when we say it's going to be massive. John and Gregg will be back as usual, but there's a hatful of new twists and changes to the show to spruce it up for the new decade. There will still be the same incredible standard of cooking that we've come to know and love, but following the success of the Australian and US versions of the show, John and Gregg will be upping the stakes and challenges for this year's chefs.

Second Time Lucky
2010 saw a string of new formats tested out with some proving successful (Pineapple Dance Studios) and some burning in reality TV hell alongside Celebrity Wrestling (Don't Stop Believing). Among the shows given a second chance in 2011 are US dance import So You Think You Can Dance, which proved a little old-fashioned for some tastes first time around, but should be back tweaked, bigger and stronger second time out on BBC One. Meanwhile, ITV is rumoured to be handing second shots to the frankly barmy Popstar To Operastar and surprisingly really good and hugely overlooked 71 Degrees North. Hurrah.

The X Factor takes over America
Is America ready for The X Factor? Our biggest most ludicrous TV show seems like a perfect match for our friends across the pond, but there's no such thing as a surefire hit in the world of TV and plenty of formats have failed to cross the Atlantic successfully in the past. Simon Cowell has been preparing to take his reality TV baby Stateside for what feels like forever and the constant speculation about the judging panel and feverish tabloid anticipation for the show is frankly ludicrous. Nevertheless, when the show finally hits the air in the autumn (on Fox in the US and ITV2 in the UK), there's not a chance in hell we won't be tuning in to watch.

The end of a new beginning for American Idol?
Returning to Fox and ITV2 later this month, the tenth series of American Idol has more pressure on it to deliver than ever before. With Cowell, DeGeneres and DioGuardi leaving the judging panel and J.Lo and Stephen Tyler stepping into the fold, it's all change on the daddy of US talent shows. With Simon Cowell's US X Factor posing a threat to its crown, the producers have already started making changes and battle lines have been drawn. Whether fans remain loyal to the programme without Uncle Si in his judge's chair remains to be seen.

The Hoff hits Britain's Got Talent
Simon Cowell can't make the auditions (boo!) and neither can Piers Morgan (hurray!), so there's a new-look judging panel on this year's Britain's Got Talent. Joining Amanda Holden are wobbly-headed comic and all-round good egg Michael McIntyre and most excitingly of all The Hoff! Taking a break from being a Big-In-Germany, ex-Baywatch hunk, former Knight Rider hero, popstar and general cool dude, David Hasselhoff will be offering his verdict on the best dancing dogs and didgeridoo-playing pensioners barmy Britain has to offer. Who needs Susan Boyle when the Hoffmeister is in town?

More of your old favourites
The Apprentice will be back in its usual spring slot, along with a second run for the Junior version. Elsewhere, I'm A Celeb is rumoured to be planning an 'Ultimate' series, while Strictly and X Factor will be back again in the autumn to take over our Twitter accounts, weekends and lives in general with the usual gossip, dramas, broadcast controversies and tittle-tattle. Some things in reality TV land never change.

Which reality shows are you looking forward to in 2011?

Or are you gonna just take a break from them altogether? Lets face it though that will be tough seeing as they will be everywhere!

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