I generally do not get into reality shows on tv. I have never watched Survivor, not even in the beginning, I do not watch The Bachelor or any of its spinoffs, and I have never watched more than 2-3 episodes of American Idol. I know AI is one of the biggest pop-culture trends of recent years, but reality tv is just not something I have any desire to follow. (Side note: Last May, I had the opportunity to spend the day with Taylor Hicks when he came to Scottsboro to promote the Goosepond Island development. Two days after he was here, he performed on the AI season finale, which was the very first time I ever heard him sing! Thankfully, he didn't ask any questions related to AI or his performances while I was shuttling him around, so I didn't have to admit I had no idea what he sounded like.) I say all of this to give a general idea of how much I typically dislike reality shows. I realize that some of the better ones (The Biggest Loser, Extreme Home Makeover, etc.) actually serve a higher purpose than the sex and scandal that seem to compose many others, and those are not the ones I rant against. Still, I get frustrated that the genre consumes so much of the networks' time and budgets now.
However...(you knew that was coming somewhere, right?)...last summer I began making an exception for a little jewel I discovered called Design Star on HGTV. I got sucked in to an episode after House Hunters, and I couldn't help coming back for more. Does it even count as a reality show? I am not sure, but I love it even more for leaving out most of the personal dramas and focusing on the competition and the designers' talents. Basically, the show throws together a group of designers, who move into a house together and compete in a series of challenges to find the next star. The winner gets their own show on HGTV. I like that some of the contestants are professional designers, while others just do it as a hobby. In fact, last year's winner was a hair stylist who just happened to have a talent for design. Also, the judges are a talented group (including my favorite, Cynthia Rowley), who really know their field. They are never demeaning or brutalizing with their critiques; they just judge what they see and offer some tips to help the contestant in the future. I know it sounds a little boring from my description, but trust me, it's not! The new season begins June 8, so check it out if you've never seen it.