Friday, December 09, 2005

The Extreme Ultimate All-Star Celebrity Entry

ABC finally announced the participants for ''Dancing with the Stars.'' I have a hard time grasping that Tia, Tatum and Jerry didn't have better options to stay in the limelight. And how did Drew Lachey rate? I know he's Nick's bro, but he's really out of his league in this group.

I reckon networks will pick up pilots for many copycat shows this season if DwtS can duplicate any of its summer success and if Fox's ''Skating with Celebrities'' attracts even a modest audience. We're on the downside of the reality curve, where regular people appear on network TV and make fools of themselves. Cable channels, such as VH1, have been producing shows where celebrities appear on TV and make fools of themselves. Similar celeb-based shows are bound to migrate to network TV to fill the void, just as ''The Real World'' started the network reality craze.

This shift makes me feel like we'll revisit the '70s and mark the end of the ultimate extreme era.

Since 1995 ultimate or extreme appeared in nearly 40 different series titles. The trend started slowly, peaked in 2000-2002, and is fading. Here are some of the early entries in the extreme race to make shows sound like they're the ultimate:
  • ''Extreme Machines'' (Discovery, 1996)
  • ''Extreme Ghostbusters'' (Synd, 1997)
  • ''Extreme Dinosaurs'' (Synd, 1997)
  • ''Extreme Homes'' (HGTV, 1997)
  • ''Extreme Gong'' (GSN, 1998)

While the extreme/ultimate trend fades away, the celebrity/all-star trend is picking up. Only a few shows, like BET's ''Campus All-Star Challenge,'' had the words celebrity or all-star in their titles from 1987-1997. The celebrity trend really started to pick up steam in 2003, allowing you to watch the following Celebrity skeins since then: ''Poker'' (Bravo), ''Blackjack'' (GSN), ''Pool'' (Bravo), ''Fit Club'' (VH1), ''Hobbies'' (DIY) and ''Charades'' (AMC) on cable.

What happened the first time we went through the celebrity title phase? You could've watched these shows in the '70s:
  • ''Celebrity Bowling'' (Synd, 1971)
  • ''Celebrity Tennis'' (Synd, 1973)
  • ''Celebrity Sweepstakes'' (NBC, 1974)
  • ''Celebrity Sweepstakes'' (Synd, 1974)
  • ''Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes'' (CBS, 1978)
  • ''All Star Secrets'' (NBC, 1979)
  • ''Celebrity Charades'' (Synd, 1979)

I guess we can blame ''Celebrity Charades'' for everything.

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