Last night marked the premiere of ABC’s Dating in the Dark, a new reality show in which six single men and women live in a pitch-black house, attempting to find love without actually seeing each other. The premise, of course, basically translates to: Blind Date plus Big Brother plus Creepy Face-Touching. This show comes on the heels of Oxygen’s Dance Your Ass Off, which features overweight contestants competing in two categories: dance routines and weight loss. Or rather: So You Think You Can Dance plus The Biggest Loser plus Fat Exploitation. Sigh. These shows are inexpensive to produce and garner big-ish ratings for studios in peril, so this new trend of combining existing reality-TV shows isn’t surprising. In fact, we’ve come up with some of our own ideas, in an attempt to cash in on the growing reality-TV mash-up phenomenon!
So You Think You Can Stop Eating?
Inspiration: The Biggest Loser plus Survivor plus Gwynnie-like Cleansing Fasts
Premise: Twelve overweight contestants compete to see who can consume the least amount of calories per day without fainting. The weekly challenges consist of tasks like “interacting with others without snapping at them” and “walking down the street.” The drama culminates with weekly weigh-ins, attended by contestants’ ex-boyfriends and -girlfriends.
Host: Jared the Subway guy.
The Amazing Race to His Bed
Inspiration: The Amazing Race plus The Bachelor plus Kinky Sex
Premise: Eight busty single women race around the country in RVs, pursuing true love. One man waits at the finish line with a ring, ready to propose to the fastest gal. After each love-related completed task (such as “Full-Body Wax in Duluth” and “Psychotherapy in New York”), the winning contestant gets to perform one sex act on the lucky bachelor, who remains blindfolded.
Host: Bret Michaels, who takes all runners-up onto his bus.
The Littlest Man’s Got Talent
Inspiration: The Littlest Groom plus America’s Got Talent plus Sick Jokes
Premise: Twenty male little people bring out their hidden skills for a season-long talent show. Talents range from a mini-fire-eater to a Shakespearean actor who specializes in King Lear (“Although the littlest, not least!”). As the weeks go on, the venues get bigger, challenging these little men to command more and more enormous stages in a phenomenon wryly referred to as “dwarfing.” America will vote based on its ability to discern the men’s acts on TV screens (the cameras will be positioned in the nosebleed seats).
Host: Wee Man
Inspiration: Intervention plus Fear Factor plus Exotic Snacks
Premise: The heart-wrenching stories of six people who are obese owing to their addictions to chocolate and candy, and are confronted by their family members and former lovers who prefer savory to sweet. The twist: Instead of losing weight, the contestants have to maintain their size while substituting on protein-rich insects and vermin for their usual between-meal snacks and desserts.
Host: The Today show’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman, dressed as Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka.
Cooking for Jon and Kate Plus 8
Inspiration: Top Chef plus Jon and Kate Plus 8 plus Shattered Marriages
Premise: Ten aspiring chefs compete to see who can best feed the fractured Gosselin family. Chefs will be challenged to remember the names of the children and their favorite meals — and reconcile Jon and Kate’s opposite visions of what everyone should be eating and how the kitchen should be run. Famous chefs, like Jon and Kate Plus 8 regular Emeril Lagasse, will periodically appear, to judge the creativity of the chefs’ creations: Who manages to channel Kate’s rage into a chili ragout? Or translate Jon’s passive aggression into a cheese soufflé?
Host: Kelly Choi (the poor man’s Padma).