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Alana, a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo (TLC/Chris Fraticelli)
Alana, a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo (TLC/Chris Fraticelli)

John Doyle

Can redneck reality TV really be over? Add to ...

As constant readers will know, The Brother was dismissed some time ago from his position as Senior Redneck Correspondent for this column.

He has since been sulking in Ottawa, working at a bar in the Byward Market and hoping to land a job in the robo-calls racket. He expects this to come to fruition in the near future.

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It was prescient of yours truly to relieve him of his duties advising on the redneck-TV phenomenon. This The Brother acknowledged as part of a recent communication in which he alerted me to the fact that Fox News, a channel always attuned to the ebbs and flows of the glorious American popular culture, has announced the demise of the redneck thing.

He sent me a link to an online Fox News report: “Short attention span: Is Hollywood done with Southern reality shows?” In an excited aside, he also drew my attention to the “related video” sidebar to the Fox News story. Specifically, “Braless Olivia Wilde steams up the red carpet.” The Brother announced he is newly devoted to the charms of Ms. Wilde. I don’t see it myself, but never mind.

In any case, Fox reports with some satisfaction that while broadcasters have recently entertained an amused audience with “salt-of-the-earth Southern fare, also affectionately known as redneck reality television,” the trend is over. So over.

That ubiquitous figure “an industry source” informs Fox that while viewers have delighted in the playful frolics and charming accents of moonshiners, backyard oil-drillers, folks who aren’t on Facebook and folks who like to roll around in “da mud” for fun, while screaming “yee-haw!”, the genre has become “fraught.” Also, there’s too much of it.

It is “fraught” because hoity-toity critics have lambasted the broadcasters for stereotyping the good people of the southern U.S. as weird, wild, devoted to mud and machines and, in general, having a good time.

Thus, if the Fox report is to be believed (they never lie or exaggerate!), it’s all over for A&E’s hugely popular Duck Dynasty, History Channel’s Swamp People, CMT’s Redneck Island and, of course, TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.

This isn’t quite plausible. Duck Dynasty is one of the most successful shows of the last two years. People love Redneck Island and Honey Boo-Boo is still attracting an audience. Also, and this point seems to be missing from the Fox report, this genre of shows is one of the few areas in the popular culture not focused entirely on the one per cent of the population that’s wealthy and owns stuff. One obvious reason for the popularity of the redneck thing on TV is that the shows are not actually about the Kardashians. And there’s the attraction of the mud.

One suspects mischief in the Fox report. It ends with an actual quote from a real person, one Brad Austin, director of development at the production company 10x10 Entertainment. He says, “but reality is going more international. Some networks are already deep into seeking projects that take place out of the U.S., English-speaking characters are still a must, but the international landscape is the new playground for the setting of shows. It opens up a world of opportunity.”

You know what that means, don’t ya’ll? They’re coming for us. The clues are “out of the U.S.” and “English-speaking.” That means Canada. I’m going to develop a reality series about The Brother. Fun, frolics and talking in a funny accent. I’m going to call it The Pierre Poutine Show. The redneck-TV phenomenon is merely moving north. Mark my words.

Fox News never liked us anyway. We’ll give them something to talk about.

Airing tonight The Secret World of Gold (CBC, 9 p.m. on Doc Zone) is a repeat of a good doc, “an investigation into the power and politics of the world’s gold and who really owns it.” When I reviewed it the first time I got e-mails calling me a “douchebag.” Not going there again. Rookie Blue (Global, ABC, 10 p.m.) ends its season tonight. The gist is this: Following violent, targeted attacks on 15 Division, the officers must piece together a past crime in order to find Oliver. Not sure who Oliver is, but our thoughts are with him.

Follow on Twitter: @MisterJohnDoyle

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