The E! Upfront felt very true to the E! Network brand -- the red carpet was fenced by fangirls and boys screaming at the top of their lungs whenever a new celebrity arrived, the party's decor was like being inside of someone's swanky living room, the presentation was completely phoned-in and all of the big E! stars left within an hour of the party (sadly, the Burning Love gang never even showed up)... save for Ryan Lochte, who was too engulfed in a sea of drooling women with camera phones (present company included) to escape with the rest of his new coworkers. Compare this to the Bravo Upfronts presentation, where there were at least a few risks taken programming-wise, and then the Bravo party, where those no-good reality stars at least stayed well into the night -- though realistically, they were probably contractually obligated to. But still. It was way more fun and better planned.
Anyway, E! announced a bunch of new programs, including six new reality shows (for which we got to see trailers), a bunch of one-off specials not worth mentioning and a few --gulp -- scripted series that in the works. Here are the reality shows with actual dates, ranked in descending order of quality:
Total Divas -- Debuts Sunday, July 28
The fact that I'm highlighting a series about WWE Divas should clue you in how the rest of the shows are going to go. Still, I grew up watching WWF and have a soft spot in my heart for those crazy lady wrestlers (Sable for life!), and from a monetary point of view, E! + WWE = A ton of money.
Love and Other Contact Sports: Eric and Jessie -- Late Summer 2013
Oh god, these two are the latest ridiculously rich quasi-celebrity power couple -- Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker and country-pop singer Jessie James (Hint: if you have to explain how they're famous, they're probably not that famous). Cameras follow the engaged couple around on the road to their wedding, and there's about a million innuendos about how tall he is and how short he is, and what must that look like? Still, if I remember it's on, I'll probably watch the hell out of the pilot since the shows seems just stupid enough to potentially work.
Hello Ross -- Fall 2013
An interactive talk show -- no, I'm not entirely sure what that means -- hosted by Ross Mathews, who is at least genuinely likable.
Pop Innovators -- July TBD
Like E! True Hollywood Story, only with blowing steam up their weekly subject's ass. The only episode of note is one about Tina Fey, but I have no idea when that will actually air.
The Wanted Life -- Sunday, June 2
2gether: The Series, but with The Wanted and without it being a parody of itself on purpose. They sing "Glad You Came," if that helps you identify them a bit more.
The Trend -- Fall 2013
A series that tells you what to spend your money on.
As for new specials: There's Blinging Up Baby (May 2) about celebrity babies; Nick Cannon's Big Surprise (May 9) where Cannon gives his grandparents a surprise home makeover that sounds even more ridiculous now that I've typed it myself; Holly Has A Baby (May 12, Mother's Day, natch) where former Playboy star Holly Madison has a baby and names it Rainbow; The Untold Story: Jason Derulo (May 14) which I am inclined to make fun of because I have no idea who he actually is, but it turns out he was in some kind of horrible accident that E! is going to tell us about; Ryan Seacrest with The Wanted: An E! Special (May 27), Bigger, Badder Celebrity Feuds (May 28), E! Special: Brooke Burke (June TBD) and 50 Hours With 50 Cent (Fall) are all self-explanatory and not worth watching; Secret Societies of Hollywood (Late Summer) explores Hollywood cults, cabals and underground clubs and will probably not be nearly as interesting as it sounds; and Inner Circle (Fall) will feature interviews with a pre-chosen member of a celebrity's -- wait for it -- inner circle to "dish" about their loved one.
New projects in development, which you'll notice sound particularly like Bravo rip-offs (a burn for the ages) are: Young Sonoma, about The Bachelor's Ben Flajnik's winery, and I'm just going to stop typing now; Queens Are Wild, which follows four of the top female poker players; Palazzo Riggi, which lost me at "another outrageous and ridiculously wealthy family" though there are 35 dogs, so we'll see; Flash, a competitive reality show about photographers; Sex & Real Estate, a docusoap set in Miami; The Soup Investigates... I'm not entirely clear on the premise but it does give Joel McHale more screentime, so more power to it; three "topical/comedy projects," sketch comedy James Davis Show, "tongue-in-cheek format show" White People Can't Dance and game show Secrets & Lies.
There's scripted series in development as well: Laurel Canyon, from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, is about a woman who returns to her crazy family after her rock-star dad dies; The Stand-In a "darkly psychological re-telling of The Prince & the Pauper" from Ryan Seacrest; Songbyrd from Krista Vernoff about a girl who writes love songs but can't find love herself (the irony!); Expectations from Ron Bass, inspired by Great Expectations (who is giving out books over at E!?); The Shoreline, where a "golden child" returns home to find that a Hollywood prime time soap has overtaken his town; Dirty/Pretty, a dark comedy about a dude from Southie who gets scouted to be a model in Miami; Fortunate Son, a drama about a guy who becomes a criminal informant to protect his rich family; and The Royals, which cashes in on the Anglophile trend and tells tales of a sexy contemporary British Monarchy with secrets, lies and lust. God help us all -- but at least none of the shows above mention Kardashians, right?
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