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Top 10 Best New Reality TV Shows of 2003

Opinions by Shawn McKenzie 03/10/2004

I don't see every single show on every single channel, but I do watch more TV than most, so I think I'm fairly credible on what is good.  I especially try to catch every new show, even new reality shows.  Some of the shows on my list have been cancelled already (or are in danger of cancellation, or just won't be coming back), but they all premiered in the calendar year of 2003.  You may disagree with my choices, and that's fine, but know what I like.  See what you think.

10. “Nashville Star”-Yes, you can easily say that this is just the country version of “American Idol,” but unlike other “AI” knock-offs, this one stayed consistently entertaining.  They had judges with attitude and credibility, very talented contestants who could play their own instruments and write their own songs, and a hot host in Nancy O’Dell.  Last season’s winner, Buddy Jewell, had the highest selling album of 2003 for a new country artist.  I’m excited about the new season, and I hope that they get into another war of words with “AI” again.

9. “Penn & Teller: Bulls**t!”-Who would have thought that a couple of comedian magicians could create a show that would prove their arguments in political issues so well?  They debunked the secondhand smoke issue, the sexual enhancement techniques, bottled water, and so many more things that they felt were BS.  I agreed with everything that they said, and it would have been hard to argue with their proof anyways.  This show is coming back this spring, and I can’t wait to see what they shoot down this time.

8. “I’m with Busey”-Many people already knew that Gary Busey was crazy, but this show proved it.  Even though I suspect some of it was just for the cameras, I do believe Busey truly has some screws loose.  Unfortunately, this show isn’t coming back, but we had at least one season of Busey’s hilarious insanity.

7. “Freshman Diaries”-I was so glad that this show was on Showtime, because it allowed this show to be a real portrayal of the freshman college year.  All the awkwardness, social interaction, and pressures that the students go through was very real (I went through it myself in college.)  There is no word yet on if this show is coming back for a second season, but I hope it does, either as “Freshman Diaries 2” or as “Sophomore Diaries

“The Restaurant”-See my comments about this show here.

“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”-See my comments about this show here.

4. “Cupid”-Who knew that you could transfer what is so great about “American Idol,” Simon Cowell, to a dating show?  The two friends of Lisa Shannon were very much Simon-like in their judging of the bachelors.  Like Simon’s record industry credibility, they had the credibility to back their arguments up, since they have known Lisa for years, and they know what she likes.  I hope this show comes back for a second season, because it would shake up a stale TV watching summer again.


3. “The Joe Schmo Show”-Sure, there have been parodies of reality shows, but there hasn’t been a whole real reality show practical joke before this show.  It was so funny to see Matt Kennedy Gould get sucked in every week to this “Big Brother”/“Survivor”-like show where he was the only real person in the house.  I never thought that the show was cruel, because I knew he would get the prize in the end.  Spike TV has ordered a second season, but I have no idea how it is going to have the same magic.  It didn’t work for “Joe Millionaire 2

“Last Comic Standing”-See my comments about this show here.

“The Simple Life”-See my comments about this show here.

What do you think of my choices?  What would you choose as the best new reality TV shows of 2003?  Please email me at shawn@entertainyourbrain.com or go to the Home Page and post your opinion on the Entertain Your Brain Message Board!

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