The Voice, America’s Got Talent, Paris Hilton, & more this summer

The Voice, America’s Got Talent, Paris Hilton, & more this summer

NBC Summer Shows Presentation Filled with Reality & Some Drama


The days of summer reruns are in the past, because networks nowadays schedule shows that will help grab ratings and revenue during the break from the regular programming. So NBC-Universal Networks held a press day to show off their summer lineup, which is filled mostly with reality and contest shows, and some dramas. Of course there are reality shows that have a lot of drama, such as The World According to Paris, on the Oxygen network, which follows the high-profile life of Paris Hilton. She’s actually very nice and it should capture a trendy young female audience easily.

For young adventure seekers, NBC’s Love In the Wild is a series that throws couples into the wild jungles of Costa Rica for their first date. It’s sort of like the Amazing Race, where they have to complete tasks, such as paddling down crocodile-riddled waters together. The pressures of the adventure will either destroy the couple’s relationship or bring them closer, or the winners of a challenge can opt to change partners. That’s sure to cause some drama. It’s hosted by likable Aussie Darren McMullen.

The Voice from mega-producer Mark Burnett just debuted on NBC. Hosted by Carson Daly, it offers a few new twists to the plethora of singing competitions. The judges– Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton– pick the singers they want to mentor during blind auditions, selections based only on their voices. Afterwards the wannabes will be coached, and then compete against each other until the final performance phase. Big bucks and a record deal are the grand prize, but let’s face it, the exposure for a truly talented performer is priceless.

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America’s Got Talent has actually discovered some outstanding talent, such as ventriloquist Terry Fator, who now headlines at the Mirage in Las Vegas. And last season’s 10-year-old opera sensation, Jackie Evancho has her own Great Performances special on PBS, and an album produced by David Foster, both coming out in June.

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America’s Got Talent has been NBC’s hottest summer show for five seasons, and it returns in June with celebrity judges Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan, plus host Nick Cannon. It reminds me of the old Major Bowes (who discovered Frank Sinatra) and Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour, the godfathers of talent competitions.

The other offerings in the reality/contest genre that were highlighted on press day at the Langham Huntington Hotel were: It’s Worth What? on NBC with Cedric “The Entertainer” hosting a game show that a cross between the Price is Right and Antiques Roadshow; Rocco’s Dinner Party on Bravo with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito getting his famous friends together to judge a cooking contest; E!’s Fashion Police, that offer acerbic criticism of celebrity fashion faux pas from Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos; and the Style network’s Jerseylicious which is best described as an emotional train wreck set in a New Jersey hair salon.

The real scripted dramas are from the Syfy network which has Alphas, a thriller premiering in July about an interesting bunch of superheroes, and the ultra-ambitious Red Faction: Origins planet Mars epic. And Mun2/Telemundo has the English/Spanish RPM Miami action show that has a great looking cast and the greatest potential.

There were lots of great quotes coming from the celebrities during the day of interviews. Nick Cannon, dressed in an attention-grabbing black and white print suit that he admitted he picked out himself, said America’s Got Talent is “the greatest summer job I’ve ever had in my life, to be part of something that’s all about fun, high energy, and just the idea of reaching and accomplishing your dream.” Rocco DiSpirito said after his previous culinary shows, “I wisely left the cooking to other people this time.” Paris Hilton said her new show is different than anything she’s done before, “On The Simple Life, I was playing a character and I was a fish out of water, living in places that wasn’t my world. Now people will get to see a real behind-the-scenes look at my life. I have nothing to hide. It’s like, ‘what else could happen?’”

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Producer Mark Burnett was asked how he got such an A-list lineup of judges (Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton) for The Voice. In addition to “charm,” he said, “Fortunately I’ve had enough of a career to see that I’m not an idiot, and can actually make good story telling. They have comfort in that. The hardest part was the scheduling of four super star music performers who are at the top of their game.” The Voice airs Tuesdays on NBC.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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