Thanks to scandalous “reality” docu-series like The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta, and pretty much any show with Atlanta in the title or as a setting, reality shows have been elevated from an occasional guilty pleasure to must-see TV. And the late summer-into-fall cable lineup is full of familiar faces and newcomers with a flair for the dramatic—all hungry for their ratchet15 minutes of fame. Here are some choice picks of new reality shows that we may addictively be unable to refuse.
I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding
Like her Real Housewives of Atlanta frenemy Kim Zolciak, NeNe Leakes has her own wedding spin-off on the horizon: I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding (Bravo, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. ET). We wish we could report that the bodacious glamazon married some sexy eligible bachelor. Leakes merely remarried ex-husband Greg Leakes, whom she originally married in 1997 and publicly feuded with and divorced on RHOA in 2011. Although it will be fun the watch the likable Leakeses plan the wedding of her dreams, if we’re lucky the diva’s bridal party—which includes seemingly sane current housewife Cynthia Bailey and cray cray former housewife Marlo Hampton—will help spice things up.
The New Atlanta
The New Atlanta (Bravo, Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. ET) won’t be much different than the same Atlanta we’ve seen on all those other reality shows set in the Dirty South. (Especially since it’s produced by the team behind VH1’s ridiculous-yet-irresistible Love & Hip-Hop franchise.) This time around, however, it’s equal opportunity foolishness, featuring a mixed Black and White cast of the ATL’s next generation of young professionals trying to balance work and love. Standouts include Alexandra Dilworth, a self-proclaimed “daddy’s girl” who is destined to become the next reality TV bad girl; actress, singer and model Africa Miranda; and Jevon “Vawn” Sims, a music artist development guru who’s writing a book promoting his controversial theories on love and romance.
Rich People’s Problems
Apparently Bravo is handing out spinoffs, because hot on NeNe’s Louboutins is her RHOA cast mate, Phaedra Parks. The lawyer, ”donkey booty” workout queen, and funeral director-in-training will star in Rich People’s Problems (Bravo, Fall 2013), where we’ll see Parks—who once represented embattled singer Bobby Brown—put her legal expertise to work representing Atlanta’s rich and famous. Let’s just hope she does a better job helping these rich folks solve their problems than she did in helping former housewife Shereè Whitfield collect alimony.
Joining the ranks of The View is Exhale (Aspire, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET; check your local listings for channel info), a provocative new talk series that addresses topics from an African-American female perspective and airs on Magic Johnson’s new Aspire network. The program’s co-hosts include Soul Food actress Malinda Williams, comedian Erin Jackson, TV anchor René Syler, Awkward Black Girl star Issa Rae and former Essence editor-in-chief (and current CocoaFab.com founder) Angela Burt-Murray.
City Sisters (Bravo, 2014) follows a group of single, up-and-coming movers and shakers in New York City’s competitive circles of real estate, fashion and media. The cast of ambitious ladies has yet to be officially announced. Ego clashes are inevitable amongst this cast of “sisters,” who are (according to Bravo’s synopsis) “aggressive in their pursuit of personal and career goals.” Iyanla would not be pleased, but this sounds like a Black version of MTV’s The City, and we can’t wait.
House of Joy
Who knew that hitmaker Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins was married to singer Joy Enriquez and living in Hollywood with their three kids and her family? If you didn’t, that’s reason alone to watch House of Joy (NUVOtv, visit MyNUVOtv to find out where it airs in your city). Produced by NUVOtv chief creative officer Jennifer Lopez and, oddly enough, The Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger, House of Joy is full of love, laughs, lyrics and in-laws, and follows the Grammy-winning producer as he helps his talented wife reignite her dream for pop stardom. Has Brandy heard about this?
Sanya’s Glam & Gold
On Sanya’s Glam & Gold (We tv, July 25 at 10 p.m. ET), four-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist track-and-field superstar Sanya Richards-Ross gives viewers an up close and personal look at her fast-paced life and high-profile marriage to NFL star Aaron Ross. The show chronicles the power couple’s struggles to juggle their busy athletic careers and their family lives. And what would a reality show be without a little female trouble? Here, that comes from Sanya’s often-contentious relationship with her sister, Shari, her partner in The Hair Clinic, a salon they founded in Austin, Texas.
Get your life and tune into The Real (debuted July 15, check your local listings)—a new syndicated talk show on Fox—for real talk about love, relationships and celebrity gossip. The chat fest features an opinionated panel of ladies, including singer and breakout Braxton Family Values star Tamar Braxton, comedienne Loni Love and actress Tamera Mowry-Housely. Hopefully the four-week summer test run in major markets (including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.) will lead to a permanent place in the fall TV lineup.
Tracy E. Hopkins is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who’s written for Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, The Village Voice and more. Her beauty and fashion blog is EverythingSheWants.net. Follow her on Twitter @TracyEHopkins.