IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Big Brother’ among returning summer shows

Summer reality show schedule;  "Real World" house; "The Famiy"; reader's song question answered.
/ Source:

Wondering about how a certain reality show pulled something off? Have a question about a certain contestant?

Whether it's "Survivor," "American Idol," "The Apprentice," "Real World" or another show, . Gael Fashingbauer Cooper,'s Television Editor, and Andy Dehnart, creator of ,will try to answer them.

Before you send in your question, — you may be able to get your answer right away.

Summer reality show round-upWe've been getting a lot of mail asking about summer reality shows, wondering which shows will be returning for 2007. Here's a short list of what we know about the most-asked-about programs. Note that we haven't included shows that have already started.

"Big Brother"Yes, the hamsters are coming back: "Big Brother 8" will premiere on July 5 on CBS, with Julie Chen back as host. Producer Arnold Shapiro has left the show, and remaining producer Alison Grodner told Variety that “now we’re getting a chance to start once again with a fresh cast and new twists.”

"Age of Love"Another dating show with a twist. In this one, a 31-year-old Australian pro tennis player must choose between Bachelorettes in their 20s and some in their 40s. Premieres on NBC, June 18.

"American Inventor"The quirky invention-peddling show will return June 6 on ABC, with a whole new look, according to Variety. The host is gone, three of the four judges are gone (producer/judge Peter Jones is the only one staying), and grillmeister George Foreman is one of the new judges. In a kind of "American Idol" style, the show will begin by showing footage from auditions across the country, ending up with six finalists.

"America's Got Talent"The talent show returns June 5 on NBC with new host Jerry Springer and judge Sharon Osbourne replacing Brandy.

"Biggest Loser"The weight loss starts again Aug. 21 on NBC. Much-dissed host Caroline Rhea has been replaced by "Days of our Lives" star Alison Sweeney. Sweeney herself has had past struggles with her weight, so seems a natural choice.

"Fast Cars and Superstars"
Let's see, we've had celebrities dancing, skating and about celebs risking their lives driving racecars? Willian Shatner, Jewel and Gabrielle Reese will be among them. Most of the celebs for this show are pro athletes, including John Elway and Tony Hawk. The show debuts June 7 on ABC and will air before each game in the NBA finals.

"Hell's Kitchen"Oh yeah, crabby chef Gordon Ramsay will be back. The show premieres June 4 on FOX, and you can meet the new cast on . This year's winner will become head chef at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa and Casino in Las Vegas, but , not every past prize has worked out as planned. If that doesn't dissuade you from wanting to compete on the show, .

"Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List"The flame-haired comedian returns June 5, and the season includes her performing at Carnegie Hall.

"Last Comic Standing"The fifth season of this show, which has often been jerked around by NBC, premieres June 13 with new host Bill Bellamy and a new $250,000 prize.

"Rock Star"After its first season, which featured INXS, and its second, which put together a group called Supernova, the CBS find-a-frontman series has not been renewed for a third season.

"Top Chef"Some call it the classier cooking reality show, and it doesn't have screaming Gordon Ramsay, whether you think that's good or bad. The ovens light up again June 6 on Bravo. Before getting to the new chefs, the show will first bring back former contestants, including Harold, Tiffany, Ilan and Stephen, to compete in a charity cook-off.    —G.F.C.

Q: Was wondering about the "Real World: Las Vegas" reunion mini-series and the status of the "penthouse" floor (in the Palms Hotel). During the initial run, there was an elevator that lead to their 28th floor with a vestibule before heading into their suite. No other hotel guest rooms looked like they were available on this floor, and from other information on other websites, the production offices were also located on this floor. In viewing the preview for the upcoming series, the former houseguests are entering the suite with what looks like other various rooms and a real hotel hallway available on the same 28th floor. Why the discrepancy? Hope you can answer this doozy.    —Andre

A: That is quite the detailed observation, and a good question. We have an answer, but first, some background.

"The Real World Las Vegas" house in The Palms hotel is the only house in the series' history to remain in its show-like state after production. The 28th floor suite was constructed in the space of six hotel rooms; the excellent reference site has a and photos of the suite. Celebrities regularly stay there — it's where Britney Spears and Jason Alexander stayed they night they got married.

The original cast, all of whom are in their mid- to late 20s, returned recently and spent a few weeks living together again; a new six-episode series started May 30, airing new episodes Wednesdays at 10.

As to the suite itself, a spokesperson for the Palms told me that "The Real World suite has not changed, although it has undergone [regular] maintenance." He says the hotel has "maintained the integrity of the original of design," and "for the most part the suite has gone has entirely unchanged."

Among the changes: The suite now has telephones and a television, which it did not have during production. The layout, the artwork, the beds, the communal bathroom -- all of that is exactly the same.

As to the hallway, while some of the standard hotel rooms on the floor were "closed off entirely for production," they all existed during filming in 2002. However, the spokesperson suspects that producers "dressed the hall" to mask the other rooms, which you noted are visible in the new season.

By the way, if you'd like to check it out for yourself, you can in the very same space. While $5,000 a night is the listed starting price, the spokesperson said it can typically rent for $7,500 to 10,000 per night, depending upon the date; it's particularly popular for group events.    —A.D.

Q: Whatever happened to the show called “The Family”? I can’t remember what network aired it but it was only on for like three weeks and then it was gone. It involved an Italian family and they all moved into this big mansion and what they didnt realize was the butlers and maids were the ones deciding who was to leave every week. I thought it was awesome and I upset when it was pulled.   Rebecca, Illinois

A: The ABC reality series debuted at the beginning of March of 2003, and was pulled off the air before the end of the month arrived. The show had low ratings, but the start of the Iraq war was cited as the reason it was pulled. It was also a convenient excuse.

The George Hamilton-hosted series actually returned four months later, airing at 10 on Wednesdays, finally concluding in early September. A total of nine episodes aired; the first three were recapped before the final six aired that summer.

Since you missed it, here’s what happened: Anthony won the game, defeating Mike. However, Anthony decided to split the $1 million prize (the “inheritance”) among all of his family members.    —A.D.

Readers answer 'Dancing' song question, a reader asked this question: "On the last episodes of 'Dancing With the Stars,' with Mario Lopez, he danced to a song that goes something like ',' I think he did the cha-cha to it....Who is the artist and the correct name of the song?"    —Terry

Many helpful readers came to Terry's rescue; thanks much!

"It was sung by Los Lobos, and was from the movie 'Desperado.'  Hence the costumes they wore.   Though I don’t think ayayaya is a lyric in any song known to man."    --Bridget

"The answer to the 'Dancing with the Stars' Mario Lopez dance is 'Cancion Del Mariachi' ('Morena De Mi Corazon') -- Los Lobos is the band."    --Diane

"I didn't see the dance but it sounds like 'Morena de Mi Corazon.' It's a traditional Mariachi song."    --Anna

"The song was from 'Desperado,' and the name of it is 'Cancion Del Mariachi' by Los Lobos."    --A.D.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's Television Editor. is a writer and teacher who publishes , a daily summary of reality TV news.