NBC’s three new winter season reality/game shows are a hit and have each been renewed for the 2010-11 season. Apparently the heavy promotion of The Marriage Ref, Minute to Win It, and Who Do You Think You Are? has paid off for the peacock network. Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, made the announcement, explaining, “All of these new series have demonstrated increasing popularity and generated far-reaching interest among viewers.”
Two of the series, The Marriage Ref and Who Do You Think You Are?, rely on celebrity involvement to help draw viewers in. The Marriage Ref is produced by Jerry Seinfeld and has featured panelists such as Kelly Ripa, Alec Baldwin, Sheryl Crow, Madonna, Ricky Gervais, and Tina Fey. Who Do You Think You Are? is produced by Friends-alum Lisa Kudrow, and each week features a different celebrity, so far including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Emmitt Smith, and Brooke Shields.
However, these series couldn’t serve more different purposes. In Who Do You Think You Are?, celebrities are researching their roots, looking for back into their family tree to confirm longheld family secrets, search for lost relatives, etc. In the process, they always dig up some unique information.
Conceived by comedian/actor Tom Papa and Seinfeld, The Marriage Ref, meanwhile, deals with family issues in the here and now. Papa serves as host, and a panel of three celebrities is featured. Clips are shown of a rather mundane fight between a married couple, such as keeping a motorcycle indoors, who’s going to cook dinner, and overly aggressive dogs that get away with near murder. After the clips are shown, the celebrity panel discusses the pros and cons of both sides and make suggestions of who to side with, leaving Papa to make the ultimate decision.
Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, hosts Minute to Win It, which doesn’t feature celebrities at all, but is a pure game show. Contestants have to finish nine nerve-wracking tasks in under sixty seconds, and if they do so, they can win $1 million. With each increasing step, the contestants can either give up and keep the money earned, or choose to risk it all and keep going.
How many episodes has NBC ordered initially? The network has committed to 13 episodes for The Marriage Ref, 10 installments of Minute to Win It, and and eight more of Who Do You Think You Are?. NBC might air original episodes of Minute to Win It during the summer.
There’s no word on if the shows will be part of the fall or midseason schedules. A decision won’t likely be made until NBC settles on its new season schedule.
What do you think? Are you glad that all or any of these shows will be back next season? Do you like one better than the other?