The latest news from the TV beat

Married…With Cameras

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, and now we’ll have video proof: In April, MTV cameras will begin following every move of recently wed pop stars Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson in preparation for a new reality show about the young couple. ”It’s a look into the lives of Jessica and I — our daily life and our professional life,” says 98º singer Lachey, who had some reservations about doing the show. ”It’s definitely an adjustment I’m going to have to make. There’s going to have to be a line drawn — what we’re willing to have the audience see.” Simpson seems far more enthusiastic about the project, which she believes will debut in August (MTV declined to comment). ”It’s going to be awesome! People are going to get to see us as a couple — how normal we are and how normal we’re not. We’re honeymooners, so we’re thinking about calling it either The Newlyweds or The Honeymooners.” Um, sweetie, that last title was taken in 1955.

Town and Country

Here’s one fish-out-of-water reality show involving the backwaters of America that’s managed to escape the wrath of Congress and rural advocates alike: Fox’s The Simple Life, a reality version of Green Acres. While CBS’ real-life Beverly Hillbillies has drawn the ire of a few random politicos and the Center for Rural Strategies, Fox has received no criticism for its plan to drop citi-fied types Paris Hilton and her BFF Nicole Richie in with the hillbillies for a six-episode series this summer. Simple Life exec producer Jonathan Murray says the normally pampered Hilton and Richie are in for the shock of their lives when they join a ”real American family” living in a small farm town inhabited by fewer than 2,500 people (he wouldn’t divulge the locale, but it’s safe to assume some farm work and trips to the Piggly Wiggly are possible). ”We’ve made it clear to everyone we weren’t trying to portray a false image of the people who live in small towns,” says Murray, who feels pretty confident that viewers will be laughing at Hilton and Richie, not the Simple folk. Perhaps, but we hardly need a TV show to do that.

AND SO ON… Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle will get really infantile in May when Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) finally gives birth to her fifth child at home. ”The baby will be given the name Jamie, so the writers can decide [next fall] whether to make it a boy or a girl,” says costar Bryan Cranston, who plays hubby Hal. Cloris Leachman will also reprise her role as Hal’s evil mother-in-law. When Lois decides to return to work, she and Hal cheat their way into low-cost babysitting at a local church. ”We’re not really churchgoers, but we fake our way through the rituals so we can use their day care.”

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Malcolm in the Middle
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