Oxygen Media Announces New Reality Competition Series Featuring Naomi Campbell

Photo Credit: Laspata DeCaro

Oxygen Media, most recently awarded a 2012 Gracie Award for Outstanding Reality Show for its series The Glee Project, today announced its latest foray into unscripted programming: The Face, a new reality competition series along the lines of America’s Next Top Model or Project Runway, will showcase the efforts of three teams of up-and-coming models competing for the chance to become the spokesperson for a nationally recognized brand. World-renowned supermodel and businesswoman Naomi Campbell will be one of three supermodel coaches, who will each scout and choose their teams from the ranks of young models striving all over the world, then mentor and guide them through a series of trials representing the steep ladder to success in the fashion industry.

The Face will be produced by Shine America, a producer and distributor of many well-known hit series such as The Biggest Loser, The Office and Ugly Betty. Oxygen has formerly been home to cycles of America’s Next Top Model and, in its stated purpose as “a leading force in engaging modern young women,” is undoubtedly a good home for this new series. As Eden Gaha, President of Shine America says, “We are pleased to bring The Face to Oxygen, which we believe is the perfect fit for this new competition series that will take viewers behind the scenes of the glamorous and fast-paced world of modeling. It’s an incredible opportunity for these young models to work with and learn from an industry icon such as Naomi Campbell and the chance to become ‘the face’ of a national brand will be an exciting and meaningful start to their career.”

The Face is reportedly part of a fifty percent increase in Oxygen’s original programming, and the presence of a star like Campbell should attract plenty of viewers. Fans of scandal and drama would do well to hope for some onscreen displays of her legendary temper, though it is doubtful she will actually assault anyone, as has so often been alleged in the past. At any rate, even without the possibility of such histrionics (and only time will tell), the series should provide plenty of entertainment for fashion junkies everywhere. As Campbell says, “With The Face the audience will get a real insider’s look at this exciting industry that has been so good to me. One lucky girl will become the face of a major brand.”

 

  

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Okay, if it wasn’t enough that the producers of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” decided to go back to blue vs. black, Bob vs. Jillian, and two big teams instead of seven or eight little ones, they then decided to mess with the outcome. And for that, I call bullshit. We can all see the manipulation for ratings a mile away, and it’s reached epic proportions this season already. Here is how it went down last night…

Host Alison Sweeney started by giving her “so tonight, the game is going to change” speech that she gives three or four times every season. So it would be blue vs. black, but first the contestants would spin a giant roulette wheel. Under each dome was either a high calorie snack, cash, or a golden ticket that would allow one person to control the game by choosing the teams. Alison did not require everyone to play, but they all did with the exception of Abby. The first four went–Rudy, Rebecca, Allen and Danny, and each had a high calorie snack, including Rudy’s piece of cake that was (gulp) 1000 calories. Then it was Tracey’s turn, the person who collapsed in the first episode yet has managed to totally control the game to this point and make enemies everywhere. So guess what she got? The dang golden ticket. Come on people. Do you really think she spun that on her own? I think the producers stopped rolling tape, inserted golden tickets under every dome and told all the contestants to shut up. I mean, what were the chances? Something like 1 in 50? No freaking way do I believe that. But more on the evil producers in a bit.

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Reality stars as bona fide “stars”

New York

Since the advent of reality television took place in the mid-90s, I’ve been fascinated with what it’s done to the entertainment industry. I remember watching “The Real World: Seattle” as a young teenager and was transfixed by this fledgling genre blooming before my eyes. Looking back, I think I was most captivated by watching people older than myself placed in situations without a script. I probably thought this is what college was like. Granted, the early days of reality TV were much more true to life than the orchestrated trash America eats up these days. Nevertheless, regardless of what you’re doing, if you’re on TV long enough, you’re going to become recognized. But we’ve always treated this recognition differently. What defines “celebrity?” Are news anchors celebrities? Are food network hosts? Funny enough, I ended going to college at the same time as an individual from the cast of “Real World: Seattle.” A friend pointed this person out on campus and I was mildly interested. This was a reality star from a different era. The reality stars of today aren’t people from everyday life — we’ve turned them into celebrities.

But they are indeed now “stars” of the bustling media universe, with all the benefits — and baggage — that entails. And their celebrity viability has consequences for traditional performers, inasmuch as “The Bachelor’s” betrayals and Jon and Kate Gosselin’s marital woes regularly grace tabloids and magazine covers, with no line of demarcation between them and what we used to think of as “stars.”

Only now, because of the unquenchable demand for programming and recognizable “talent,” they aren’t being disposed of. Instead, they’re recycled, creating a permanent reality-TV class accustomed to living their lives on camera — the ever-ready-for-primetime players (and on a budget!).

Their ascension within celebrity circles can be easily chronicled simply by flipping through the pages of US Weekly and People. And while interest in these newly minted stars hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for actor gossip, the migration into spheres once reserved for performers should send shudders up the spine of anyone holding a SAG card.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant cleverly mocked the genre in season two of “Extras” and to me, that’s the most biting commentary I’ve seen on the topic. Still though, who are the people watching “Extras”? They’re an audience with taste — certainly a taste that is disintegrating in our society as reality programming increases each year. I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t watch any of the shows. That would be a bogus claim. Fact is, most of us do watch them. I get a kick out of “I Love New York” and “Rock of Love,” only it stops at the humor. The individuals on these shows are society’s most entertaining fools. Are they celebrities? Of course they are. But they are fools because they wanted to be.

  

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To see more of the show that’s being described as “Like ‘The Osbournes’ but with dildos and lube,” follow this link!

  

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