Grizzly Bear

There’s a new reality program on the History Channel called Tougher in Alaska, which confusingly has no obvious connection to history other than that the events documented in the show have undeniably occurred at some point in time—you know, just like the Peloponnesian War. Genre anomalies aside, Tougher in Alaska seems to be another in the recent spate of what some lazy journalists have resigned themselves to calling "tough TV." And now we are among them. Other programs that fit under this sad rubric are such chronicles of the struggle for survival against an inhuman and unfriendly environment like Ax Men, Deadliest Catch, Man vs. Wild and Access Hollywood.

Anyway, it turns out that this trend is really making headway with a passel of current TV shows incorporating some of these themes into their existing formats. We were able to get an insider’s look at some of the upcoming changes and present them to you in what should be, by now, a familiar format.

  • Man vs. Wild host and former British SAS officer Bear Grylls joins the cast of Gossip Girl for several episodes until he’s reduced to a weepy, shivering wreck by the show’s relentlessly nihilistic viewpoint.

  • After relocating production from Los Angeles to New York, Ugly Betty moves its home base once again to a North Korean military triage unit.

  • TMZ replaces its field reporters with a fleet of rabid mountain lions. No one seems to notice.

  • Dancing With the Stars undergoes significant changes and becomes the retitled: Dancing With the Stars in the Midst of a Raging Forest Fire.

  • Don’t Forget the Lyrics! returns with bigger prizes and tougher penalties. Winning contestants may be awarded up to two million dollars, while losers will face immediate imprisonment for a period of up to ten years in a Detroit-area penitentiary.
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