We all knew electing a reality show star to the White House would take us into some unchartered territory, but most weren’t cynical enough to portend the reality-TV rabbit hole this presidency has become. We may be in the midst of a constitutional crisis but it’s a showrunner’s wet dream.
President Trump’s first six months can not only be summed up by current reality show franchises, but the seemingly unending opportunities for new ones. With no graceful end to this administration or its members’ careers in sight, White House staff members are essentially auditioning for their own shows already. We know Dancing with the Stars is wooing Spicey but here’s what else showrunners have for our consideration this fall and their expected network homes:
THE APPRENTICE. In this presidential edition of The Apprentice, Trump foregoes his trademark “You’re Fired,” instead subjecting White House job applicants to a vicious war of attrition via passive-aggressive tweets attacking their abilities, loyalties and basic intelligence. Since his once-trusty sidekick George was “feeling the Bern” in ‘16, he is replaced by cantankerous Keebler crony Jeff Sessions. A dumbfounded Sessions will attempt to counsel the Don on which candidate not to fire, but Trump will ignore him completely and defer instead to prideful progeny Don Jr., who will insist the show never even happened. NBC
KEEPING UP WITH THE KUSHNERS. Watch as Jared Kushner struggles with his secret battle with spoken language, while his wife fends off come-ons from her doting dad. Special focus will be given to Ivanka’s fashion line. We will root for her as she tries to lure Target into selling the leftovers from a Saks-0ff-5th fire sale of her made-in-China shoes, clothes and accessories. Ra-ra assistant, aged cheerleader and best g-friend Kellyanne Conway will handle all marketing and publicity.
Together they’ll throw lavish birthday parties for the couple’s two children and dedicate themselves to bringing the marshmallow-hot dog skewer the respect it deserves (naturally downplaying its Filipino origins, given the proposed anti-immigrant legislation). Pepto Bismol will sponsor. Lifetime.
TO CATCH A PREDATOR: MS-13 STYLE. Now that his bid to kill healthcare (er, Obamacare) is dead, and there is open rebellion amongst both senior white men in Congress and in the whitest White House this side of the 21st century, Trump has turned his laser focus on the MS-13 gangs. Each week a different member of an MS-13 gang will respond to Craigs’ List ads from sexual predators, attempting to lure them to a non-descript home in a Long Island suburb. When all the players are there, Chris Hansen will pop out from behind a chambray Pottery Barn couch, quickly confirm that the predator is there to have sexual relations with the underaged gang member and then run for his fucking life, leaving the gang member to punish the predator MS-13 style. MS-NBC.
SURVIVOR: HEALTHCARE EDITION. “Let Obamacare implode,” could be the opening refrain of this latest installation in “The Survivor” series. Imagine Donald on a seemingly unscalable cliff extolling what it takes to survive a land with no available health care: “39 days, 323 million people, only the richest 1% survive!” CBS/DISCOVERY HEALTH
MR. UNIVERSE: Pomp and circumstance is part of the territory when you are the President of the United States: State dinners, dedications, medal-giving ceremonies … Obama tolerated it; Trump adores it. Given how Trump pushes White House pomp so far into the realm of pageantry, it’s high time he had a pageant of his own. In MR. UNIVERSE, Trump is the only contestant. There is, of course, no swimsuit competition because no one knows if he owns nipples — plus, no one wants to see anything approximating this:
Also, the evening gown competition will be replaced with the “Commander in Chief” dress-up challenge. But he will kill it in the personality interview. In fact, he’s gonna win so much, he’s gonna get tired of winning.
Initially a competition-reality show this will morph into a character-driven vehicle 2nd season, as we follow the winner (aka Trump), as he cuts tremendous ribbons and appears before yuge crowds of impressionable young people (boy scouts, white White House interns) who will offer enthusiastic applause to the chief no matter what drivel or revisionist history he regales them with. Their leadership will then officially apologize afterward, despite the president’s claims of congratulatory best-speech-EVER phone calls from said leadership that never occurred. Several networks interested, excluding Telemundo.
BIG BROTHER. Have you heard? The White House is leaking; the White House is leaking! We put hidden cameras in every room; a mic in every corner and crevice. Nobody will be able to take a shit without Jeff Sessions overhearing and launching an investigation into it. Julie Chen will host but will not be happy about it. CBS
BACHELOR: “SMOOCH THE MOOCH.” Now that Anthony Scaramuci’s wife Deidre has filed for divorce mid-labor, we have our next Bachelor! And he’s of Latin descent, thus quelling Bachelor critics who decry the show’s white bent. Watch 15 women (all white) with no discernible opinions other than they are here to “find love and not make friends,” compete for the love of a twice-divorced little tiny loser who constantly refers to himself in the third person. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shower. ABC.
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF D.C. True, the original franchise was cancelled after a single season. (Andy Cohen credited its demise to the “Salahi stink,” when one of the show’s couples crashed a White House state dinner. Because eight years ago, crashing a party was what constituted a major White House scandal). This revamped version will feature a gaggle of incredulous wives who are constantly turned off emotionally and sexually by their husbands’ gross sycophancy to Donald Trump. The series will actually be filmed in NYC, where current and former White House wives have chosen to stay despite — or because of — their husbands’ appointments. We’ll watch Melania shop frivolously and cavort joyously with a certain head of security at Tiffany’s, conveniently located on the ground floor of her apartment building. Deidre Scaramucci will be the “outsider” of the group, given her hubbie is no longer in DC but the women will quickly warm up to her when they learn her estranged husband has only visited his newborn son once in his first month since his unrequited/undying “love for the President” outweighs his love for anyone but himself. Bravo, Bravo.
FLIP OR FLOP: NEW HAMPSHIRE If Tarig and Cristina can maintain a successful on-camera reality and real-estate relationship post-divorce, so can Donald and Marla! This eighties power pair will lend his family backing and her blond hair to selling the dumpiest, most drug-infested dens in New Hampshire to cast-offs from Tiny House Hunters who were too cracked out to make it past the first round of auditions. Donald will call Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto at the end of every episode to brag what a fucking amazing job he did. (He will also remind him that he won the electoral college vote in 2016.) HGTV.
And still in development: Consider, for a moment, the ratings potential of THE MOOCH IS LOOSE featuring everybody’s favorite pint-sized, foul-mouthed Eddie Munster doppelganger Anthony Scaramucci. I see this on VH1 (The cast is too old for MTV and neither beautiful nor classy enough for Bravo.) After initial ratings gold, viewership will falter, so producers will bring in OJ Simpson to make cameos. The Juice and The Mooch will bond, proclaim “Bros before hoes!” repeatedly and without context and create memes accordingly. Eventually they will go on to judge a reality competition dance series on FOX called The Mooch & The Juice Cut Loose. Simon Cowell will executive produce for FOX.
Bring on the fall season!