'I Slept With A Celebrity' May Sound Great But It's Trouble for Networks
If you're still obsessed with the time Brandi Glanville confessed to hooking up with Gerard Butler on Watch What Happens Live, then Andy Cohen has another show just for you. Cohen will produce I Slept With A Celebrity, a weekly unscripted show that is currently being shopped to different networks. For anyone who loves salacious celebrity gossip, the show is a dream come true, but for TV networks, it would probably be more of a nightmare.
With such an obvious title, audiences would tune into I Slept With A Celebrity hoping to hear detailed stories about the sexual encounters each episode's two guests had with celebrities. Considering that E! News reaches about 18 million viewers every week with much tamer material, I Slept With A Celebrity could turn out to be ratings gold—but at a price.
Any celebrity discussed on the show is not going to be happy about it. No one wants the details of their sex life shared with the public and it wouldn't be surprising if the series brought on lawsuits the way TLC's quickly cancelled Starter Wives Confidential did. The real risk, however, lies in the network's relationships with celebrities.
Because of Andy Cohen's first-look deal with NBCUniversal, their networks will probably be the first to be offered I Slept With A Celebrity. Let's say, for example, E! were to pick up the show. If a particular celebrity were to be discussed on I Slept With A Celebrity, what are the chances that they'll ever agree to appear on an E! show again? It's doubtful someone would want to be the guest on Chelsea Lately if the night before private details about their life were revealed on the same network.
The same could happen on any network. Celebrities upset over their portrayal on the series would probably not agree to be on its network's late night shows or even take a role on a new series that would air on that channel. If any network buys I Slept With A Celebrity, it will be immediately at risk of losing important relationships with stars.
The only way to avoid that is to make sure that all of the stories told are inoffensive and don't get too into detail on the celebrity involved. But that strategy creates another major problem, since it would make for a very boring show that people probably wouldn't want to watch.
I Slept With A Celebrity puts networks in a difficult position, lose your celebrity connections or lose your audience. Hopefully whatever network ends up with the show will choose wisely.