Many reality TV fans still tune in to E! to see Kim Kardashian rocking designer dresses and plain T-shirts that probably cost more than most of us make in a month. But now there’s a new trend in reality show wear taking over TV: pixels.
Instead of looking for more pampered princesses with personal stylists and Real Housewives with roomy closets, reality TV producers are searching for stars that are willing to be completely wardrobe-free. The Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid” focuses on two survivalists with nothing between themselves and the elements but layers of mud and mosquitoes. TLC’s “Buy Naked” is about nudists looking for homes in “Nudist Capital of North America” (Pasco County, Florida), and VH1’s “Dating Naked” features the most awkward blind dates ever. These series all have setups that are similar to those of other reality shows, but they become more compelling when their stars ditch their clothes.
With butts and blurs becoming more common on TV, it’s hard not to wonder which reality series will get the naked treatment next (it’s safe to say that “Project Runway won’t be one of them). The ten shows below might do well ratings-wise by getting in on the skin trend.
1. “Last Comic Standing”
If contestants can’t get the audience to laugh at their comedy bits, at least they can get them to laugh at their jiggly bits. They can make themselves the “butt” of all of their jokes (ba-dum-tsh!).
2. “America’s Got Talent”
A nude talent show would be right up judge Howard Stern’s alley. Just imagine how difficult it would be for singers to belt out love ballads in their birthday suits, and think of how much better the magicians would have to be with no sleeves to hide their tricks. Any motorcycle and bicycle-oriented danger acts would also get a lot more dangerous for the men performing them.
3. “The Amazing Race”
A clothing-free race would be much harder than the original because it would involve avoiding arrest for indecent exposure. Just imagine a couple of frantic naked people trying to hail a cab—do you think the driver would stop? Plane travel would be impossible, so the show could add a “Project Runway”-style twist that would allow contestants to fashion clothing out of any non-clothing items they can get their hands on.
4. “The Bachelor”
This would require a lot of blurs, but just imagine all the catty comments that would come from competitive women criticizing each other’s bodies. It would basically be “Dating Naked” with ten times the skin and 20 times the drama.
5. “Dancing with the Stars”
Wardrobe malfunctions would no longer be a problem if clothing was banned from the ballroom. However, the blurs might make it hard to see the dancing. It might also be hard to find any celebs willing to strip and do the Samba (sorry, ladies—Channing Tatum is too famous to pull a “Magic Mike” on ABC).
6. “Celebrity Wife Swap”
What happens when a celebrity and someone from a nudist camp exchange partners? Hilarity ensues, of course. Season two’s Kendra Wilkinson and Andy Dick would probably take part in a nude version of the show.
7. “America’s Next Top Model”
Tyra Banks is obsessed with “smizing,” so maybe she should consider having contestants ditch their clothes. This way models would really have focus on nailing those fierce facial expressions and perfecting the “booty tooch.”
8. “Millionaire Matchmaker”
The creepy rich guys on this Bravo show always want to see the goods right away, anyway. However, sometimes Patti Stanger looks like she wants to slap the gold-digging girls who wear super-skimpy clothes to their first “Matchmaker” meeting, so she might only agree to let potential matches strip down if her millionaire is a nudist. Just imagine the things Patti Stanger would say to the poor girls getting critiqued in their birthday suits.
This is one of the longest-running reality competitions on TV, so it might need a gimmick to stay alive. Add nudity, and you’ve got “Naked and Afraid” with more people, more drama, and more Jeff Probst. Season one “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch probably didn’t realize that he was being such a TV trailblazer when he creeped the other contestants out by competing naked.
10. “Real Housewives”
What do wealthy female nudists do all day when they can’t shop or get into fights in public places? “Real Housewives of the Nudist Colony” would answer that question. Or here’s an alternate idea: send women from the “Real Housewives” franchise to live in a nudist colony. Half of them have posed nude in some form or fashion already, so a few of them would probably be open to doing it.
Do you think the naked TV trend will continue to grow?
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Photo: ABC/Adam Taylor