My latest NPR adventure: The cost of juicing reality TV shows with celebrities
When ABC needed to spark up its faded Wife Swap franchise, it's no surprise that they turned to a time honored tactic: adding celebrities.
Pouring in famous names -- or, to be more accurate, people who used to be famous or are kinda famous -- has long been a go-to strategy for revitalizing tired "reality TV" formats, from Donald Trump's Apprentice series to the Celebrity Rehab and Celebrity Fit Club franchises.
So I decided to have a little fun with the trend on NPR, reminding listeners of the Wife Swap series' roots overseas and talking a bit about the trend. (the real goal, of course, was to get a clip of Flavor Flav bellowing his name on National Public Radio. You're welcome, America.)
ABC tonight brings legendary showbiz casualty Gary Busey in the show's 9 p.m. timeslot. Click here to see Monday's preview episode, which featured ex-Growing Pains star Tracey Gold switching lives with former Wilson Phillips singer Carnie Wilson.
That, of course, is the biggest problem with such "celebrity" shows. Too often, they feature the same people; performers who once had the limelight and are now willing to keep their face in the public eye by enduring these exercises in public humiliation.
What a way to kick off 2012. At least, I got a fun commentary out of it; check it below: