Can there be an untapped corner of the reality TV racket at this late date?
They’ve done dating and drinking and confessing to private cameras in a dreamhouse full of singles. They’ve done eating icky bugs, confronting phobias, appraising junk, gawking at fish-out-of-water Amish. Jousting, falling, racing and surviving. Toddlers, tiaras and Honey Boo Boo. It’s all been done.
Challenge yourself to come up with a reality TV theme that has yet to be explored.
The answer, naturally, is Jesus.
“Preachers’ Daughters”on Lifetime seeks to redress the apparent lack of spiritually enlightened reality TV programming. They’re playing catch-up to“The Sisterhood”on TLC, which debuted in January, about five outspoken preachers’ wives in Atlanta of the “Real Housewives” variety.
Another entry,“Divas for Jesus,”is in development for WE.
Clearly, religiosity is as rich a theme as obesity, weddings or hoarding. And just as fascinating to watch as any other TV train wreck.
“Preachers’ Daughters,” premiering Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Lifetime, shows that the ministers’ kids really can be the most messed up, the most prone to trouble, the most suffocated by parental expectations that they explode in naughty ways.
“Preachers’ Daughters” follows three families — the Perrys, the Koloffs and the Colemans — headed by pastors, whose daughters, the network promises, “balance the temptations every teenager faces with their parents’ strict expectations and code of conduct as influenced by their faith.”
(When the Perry’s unwed teen daughter has a baby, that’s one thing. But when she admits, during the first episode, that the paternity is in question, Dad realizes it’s time for some heavy-duty prayer.)
There are plenty of creepy moments, not least when one of the daughters expresses her desire to be a porn star. Also when one father-daughter pair has a “father-daughter dinner date” and the teen admits that the boy she fancies smells just like her dad. Of course canny editing heightens the nastiness factor, sometimes giving a worse impression than necessary.
“Divas for Jesus” (working title, sheer genius), to be set in Nashville, purports to track “a group of fabulous Christian women whose faith consists of guns, God, gossip and great wine,” WE’s release explains. “Monday through Saturday, our ensemble cast of glamorous Nashville ladies live upper-class lifestyles working and playing hard. Tossing Book Club for Bible Study, these women get together every week, and on Sunday they ask for forgiveness and cleanse their fabulous little souls.”
So there’s redemption in the worst of reality TV after all.