The networks produce tons of reality television for basic cable over the summer months. Let’s be honest – the networks produce tons of reality television every month for all of the networks - period. One can find reality shows on almost any network at any time, including A&E and The History Channel.
While there is more than enough out there for everyone to choose from, June and July bring back two of our favorite reality shows – Hell’s Kitchen and Big Brother.
First up, Hell’s Kitchen –
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey hosts one of the best cooking shows on television, and definitely the most-fun. Along with his British accent, his multiple Michelin stars (one of the top hotel and restaurant annual guides), his multiple renowned restaurants, and six television programs, Chef Ramsey might just as well be known for his stellar vocabulary. He drops the “F” bomb a lot, and the television sensors bleep him quite a bit. “You, Donkey,” happens to be one of our favorite Ramsay-isms.
Lewd language aside, Chef Ramsey shares his knowledge of cooking and invites twelve chefs (some aspiring chefs, some sous-chefs, and some executive chefs) to compete for an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to win a high paying position at a top restaurant in popular cities such as Vegas, Atlantic City, Los Angeles, and Whistler, British Columbia.
Each season promises drama as the cast members’ personalities inevitably clash. But most importantly, and ironically, each season the cast members appear to cook the same dishes incorrectly over and over again driving Chef Ramsey absolutely bonkers. Such dishes include scallops, risotto, and beef wellington.
One by one, the competing chefs’ jackets are burned, leaving only two to battle it out for the prize. The final two select previously eliminated teammates to work alongside them in the final competition of the season, and there’s nothing quite like watching the two struggle with this decision, knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and tempers of their cohorts. These two finalists build their own menus and sometimes even design their half of the dining room giving Chef Ramsey a full view of their potential as Executive Chefs.
Former winners of Hell’s Kitchen include: Michael Wray (Season 1), Heather West (Season 2), Rahman “Rock” Harper (Season 3), Christina Machamer (Season 4), Danny Veltri (Season 5), Dave Levey (Season 6), Holli Ugalde (Season 7), and Nona Sivley (Season 8).
If you love food, love to cook, or love to laugh, I highly suggest giving Hell’s Kitchen a try. I have added dining at a Ramsey restaurant to my bucket list. Do you know what I’ll order? Scallops, risotto, and beef wellington!
Hell’s Kitchen premiers Tuesday, July 19th on FOX.
Next, we have Big Brother –
What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Big Brother’? “Big Brother is watching you,” right? Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell still lives strong today. Only today, many people immediately think of CBS’s hit reality show, Big Brother, not the classic literary work.
Each season, approximately thirteen houseguests arrive for their summer of seclusion cut off from the outside world completely – no television, no telephone, no radios, no newspapers, no computers – no contact. They compete against each other in food and luxury competitions, as well as the ever-powerful Head of Household (H.O.H.) and the Power of Veto competitions in the hopes of winning the $500,000 cash prize.
Alliances inevitably form, and usually only the strongest survive the game. On the other hand, forming and publicly acknowledging an alliance will most often times ensure the members of said alliance have the largest targets on his/her backs. Two of the most successful alliances in the history of Big Brother formed the previous two seasons – Season 11’s Jeff Schroeder and winner Jordan Lloyd, and season 12’s ‘The Brigade’ consisting of winner Hayden Moss, and his three buddies: Enzo Palumbo, Lane Elenburg, and Matt Hoffman.
Video cameras capture the houseguests’ every move. In addition to CBS’s airing three episodes a week, live 24/7 feeds are available online, and Showtime airs Big Brother: After Dark every night from midnight to 3am (EST).
America watches and votes on special circumstances to make the houseguests’ lives even more difficult. For example, the losing members of the food competitions are forced to eat “Big Brother Slop” for seven days. The slop has been compared to oatmeal in texture, but lacks all taste. America votes each week and allows the losing houseguests the opportunity to eat other selected food items such as bok choy and baby food.
America has also voted some of the biggest twists into the game – The Power of Coup D’Etat (season 11 awarded to Jeff Schroeder), re-entry into the house (season 6 awarded to Kaysar Ridha), and the Saboteur (season 12 awarded to Ragan Fox). But don’t worry; Big Brother doesn’t always need America’s help to thrust the houseguests into a deep paranoia. In Season 11, Big Brother introduced Pandora’s Box. Each time the houseguest of choice decides to open the box, the remaining houseguests endure a good consequence and a bad consequence. They never know what might happen until it’s too late and the decision has been made.
CBS and Julie Chen host some of the most fun summer television programming has to offer. If you love watching men & women battle it out physically, go insane and breakdown, and engage in some of the most strategic game-play on television today, check out Season 13!
Big Brother premiers Thursday, July 7th on CBS.
Are you a fan of Hell’s Kitchen or Big Brother? Who’s your favorite winner from Hell’s Kitchen? Who’s your favorite houseguest from Big Brother? How about your least favorite and why? Which reality television shows do you enjoy? If given the opportunity, would you audition for reality television? I’d love to hear from you!
Special Announcement – Tomorrow, Amber West and I launch our new blog series, Why it’s Worth a Watch Wednesday. Come back and check out our first editions – Switched at Birth (ABC Family) and Teen Wolf (MTV). Stop by the twitter hashtag (#watchwed) and visit with us about any of today’s television shows that you’d like to see discussed on our series.