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‘Texas Ranch House’ saddles up in May

What's up with "Making the Band 3" take two? And where are the "Road Rules" cast lists?
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January's a busy month for reality shows. "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Bachelor" have already returned, with "Beauty and the Geek," "American Idol" and "Skating with Celebrities" are on the way.

We've also received a number of questions about the syndicated reality show which has been showing reruns since the holidays. Fans of the self-help soap opera can relax: New episodes returned Monday with breast-cancer survivor Allison's graduation (for the second time — she was on the first L.A. season of the show as well as the current one). New episodes will be coming every day for the foreseeable future.

Q: I am a big fan of the reality shows that came on PBS such as "Frontier House" and the show were the families had to live similar to the puritans. Are there any plans for more shows like these? Perhaps a "Frontier House II"?    —Jasmine

A: Saddle up, we're headin' to the ranch! is the name of the upcoming edition of these addictive living-history reality shows. The cast will live as Texas settlers did in 1867. Some will be cowboys, some ranch foremen, some cooks, others family members. The show is set after the Civil War's end, so freed slaves may also play roles in the show.

The show's official site says "our volunteers will be fully immersed in the inner workings of a ranch house: building corrals, rounding up and branding cattle, taming stallions, and preparing for a two week cattle drive -- all the while tending to the daily needs of themselves and their livestock."

The site's FAQ also notes that children will be home-schooled, as was common on Texas ranches that were often far from formal schools. Interestingly, the FAQ also addresses guns, stating "Our participants will not be permitted to use guns. It is something of a myth that all cowboys carried guns, and in fact guns were banned from most early ranches because they terrified cattle and could cause stampedes. Our show is about living the life of real 1867 cowboys and ranchers, not movie gunslingers."

"Texas Ranch House" was shot in the summer and fall of 2005, and will air beginning May 1. Check your local PBS stations for specifics.  Personally, I'm quite pleased that the historical "House" series is returning. We get plenty of mail here generalizing that all reality shows are brainless programs for braindead viewers, and yet one episode of any of these "House" seasons can be educational, entertaining, and heartening, teaching us about a world gone by and reminding us of how tough our ancestors had things.    —G.F.C.

Q: Do you know anything about the band on Making the Band 3? Have they formed a group and what is their name? Will we be seeing them anytime soon?      —Cathy, Georgia

A: After failing to find enough talent to form a group on the first season of "Making the Band 3," Diddy succeeded during the second season. He chose Aubrey and Aundrea, who both were allowed to return from season one, in addition to Dawn, Shannon, and Wanita.

While the group doesn't have a name or a release date for their first album yet, we have no seen the last of them. In late December, they appeared on "TRL," and said that a third season of "Making the Band 3" would chronicle their work as they record their debut album. There's been no official word yet from MTV, but Aubrey revealed on her MySpace page that the show will air this spring.    —A.D.

Q: I was wondering if there was some place to find out all the cast member names from all of the seasons of ‘Road Rules’ on MTV? The MTV site only offers info on recent casts.    —Tina, Missouri

A: If you’re just dying to know how to spell Theo’s last name (Vonkurnatowski) or what season Piggy was on (“Road Rules Down Under”), the Internet Movie Database is your best bet. Their has what appears to be a complete list of all the Road Rulers of past seasons.

“Road Rules” itself remains on hiatus, possibly never to return, but many of its cast members can be seen on     —G.F.C.

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