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What Happened To VH1’s Reality Shows?

Mike Vulpo |
October 3, 2010 | 5:26 p.m. PDT


Flavor Flav (photo courtesy of Mark Mainz/MTV)
Flavor Flav (photo courtesy of Mark Mainz/MTV)
Flavor Flav, Bret Michaels, Ray J: What do all these stars have in common? They all have had their shot at love on a VH1 reality show series.

“Flavor of Love,” “Rock of Love” and “For the Love of Ray J” were just some of the shows we loved to watch in order to see who would get that final clock, be able to get another trip on the tour bus or have that final glass of champagne.

For the past several months, VH1 has drastically changed their programming and I’m wondering if I’m the only one that wants the old VH1 celebreality back?

Back in 2006, yes that long ago, we were introduced to Flavor Flav’s quest for love. Every contestant was given a nickname (remember Hottie, Pumpkin, New York, Hoopz and that’s just season one) and the fight began to win Flav’s heart. There was drama, backstabbing, badmouthing, and pure craziness. How did VH1 find these contestants and is Flavor Flav for real? The answer, yahhh boy.

“Flavor of Love” lasted three seasons which was then replaced by “Rock of Love” with Poison front man Bret Michaels. Of the three seasons, the most memorable female contestants had to have been Farrah, Ashley, Lacey and Heather. No nicknames for this show, but the women contestants did get backstage passes instead of clocks if they were chosen for another week.

Besides these shows, we had the introduction of “I Love New York,” “For the Love of Ray J,” “Hogan Knows Best,” “Charm School” and countless others.

Today, things have changed dramatically. A recent article in the New York Times explains that VH1 is switching from trashy, did-that-just-happen moments, to more mature, sophisticated material.

There was “What Chille Wants” and currently there’s “Fantasia For Real” which follows the depressing suicide attempt in American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino’s life.

The biggest reason for the change in formatting in my opinion is contestant Ryan Jenkins from “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” The contestant who was rumored to be a finalist on his show was accused of murdering his significant other Jasmine Fiore. He later killed himself after police officers suspected him of committing foul play.

VH1 came under huge scrutiny for its contestants and accurate background checks. In the end, I believe VH1 wanted to be known for more than just a channel filled with crazy contestants who wanted a chance at love and fame.

Today, some decent programs still exist on the cable network. “Celebrity Rehab” with Dr. Drew Pinsky is planned to come back later this year with Janice Dickinson and Tiger Woods' mistress Rachel Uchitel.

In addition, the premiere of a new reality show titled “Football Wives” will premiere later this month that looks promising.

VH1, if you are reading this, your channel had so many trashy reality T.V. guilty pleasures that will never be forgotten. Today, however I barely turn on your channel. Bring back our favorite love shows or drama-filled competitions.

If not, I guess we'll all be watching MTV (which, less face it, isn't any different since VH1 and MTV are both owned by MTV Networks).

To reach columnist Michael Vulpa, click here.



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