Like many young girls hoping to hit the big time, the cast of Chasing Nashville has big dreams — dreams of turning their music into money, dreams of seeing their names immortalized on marquees, and, most of all, dreams of leaving their small towns behind to find success in the city that launched the careers of so many of their idols.
Piggybacking on the success of ABC’s scripted hit Nashville, starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, the Lifetime reality competition show, which follows seven small-town singers as they pursue the path to country music stardom, premieres tonight at 10/9C, and has already garnered plenty of buzz, although not all of it has been positive.
As Nashville Scene describes, “You have young girls mimicking reality stars, the codification of Nashville into a distant Shangri-La and Meemaw on a mechanical bull. But then, as with so many of this new generation of shows, Chasing Nashville just got relentlessly boring. Instead of great singing and country charm, we just got shot after shot of nervous handwringing backstage and carefully edited side eyes. It’s all build-up, no release.”
Despite some of the negative response to the show so far, Chasing Nashville‘s formula of creating a reality show from the framework of an already-established scripted hit has worked well in the past. Here are some of our favorite examples of how this tricky equation has become a success:
The Glee Project: After the runaway success of FOX’s Glee surprised parents, kids, and advertising executives around the world, Oxygen decided to strike while the iron was hot, creating reality competition The Glee Project. The show served two important functions: keep Gleeks in front of the TV for an extra hour each week and keep sending Ryan Murphy an endless supply of young stars to fill the Show That Will Not End.
The Real Housewives of Orange County: Back in the day, before the world knew the Giudices and long before Brandi Glanville became part of our cultural lexicon, there were the O.Gs of the O.C. They drank wine, shopped, and never imagined the day when they would be more famous than the Desperate Housewives that spawned them.
Laguna Beach: In 2004, in a little city called Laguna Beach, a group of unbelievably good-looking kids watched The O.C. and thought, “I can out-privilege that.” And thus, a generation of reality stars were born, from Lauren Conrad to Kristin Cavallari, the cast became synonymous with the excesses of the early to mid-2000s, partying in their parents’ McMansions, getting drunk in Cabo, and making us remember why we’re glad our teenage years weren’t taped.
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