Reality TV

From BET to TLC, Houston Is Getting Its Own Set of Shows

Who needs The Real Housewives of Dallas when we have Billion Dollar Buyer—and a whole new crop of shows featuring actual, interesting Houstonians?

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen March 31, 2016 Published in the April 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Sisters in Law is just the beginning...

We are not mad at Dallas. We are not. Yes, teasers for The Real Housewives of Dallas, which premieres on Bravo on April 11, feature a montage of said housewives talking trash about our city (two of the cast members—40 percent of them—originally hail from the Bayou City, which they diss like only a self-hating Houstonian can). And yes, Dallasites continue to make all Texans look like hot new-money messes, on Big Rich Texas and Most Eligible Dallas and The A-List: Dallas and now this. But no, we’re not mad at all.

We may be a little annoyed that Houston has had cast after cast of faux-Housewives shows crash and burn without ever getting picked up by a network. But consider this: Just a few years ago, the only portrayal of H-Town on television was Animal Cops: Houston. And now there’s a whole new crop of shows that feature actual, interesting Houstonians—you know, mostly. Who needs Housewives?

Sisters in Law

Star: Former Houston city council member and current HISD board member Jolanda Jones—and her marvelous taste in earrings
Concept: Six high-powered African-American female lawyers balance work, family and relationships.
Inspired By: Honestly? Nothing. There are many shows about African-American women, but none that also show them collectively as kick-butt professionals.
Potential Spinoff: Someone needs to give Vivian King a Judge Judy-type of show. Or an advice column. Or both.
Where to Watch: Airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on WE tv

Billion Dollar Buyer

Star: Billionaire Landry’s owner Tilman Fertitta
Concept: Entrepreneurs around the country pitch Fertitta on their products, hoping to get a purchase order from Landry’s 50 restaurants and 500 properties.
Inspired By: Shark Tank, obviously
Potential Spinoff: The real drama is always behind the scenes at a restaurant. We want a show about the personal lives of waiters at the Downtown Aquarium.
Where to Watch: Airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CNBC

Chasing Destiny

Star: Beyoncé’s BFF and Destiny’s Child original member Kelly Rowland
Concept: Rowland and choreographer Frank Gatson hope to mold a few talented singers into the next big girl group.
Inspired By: It’s less like The X-Factor, for which Rowland previously served as a judge, and more like MTV’s Making the Band.
Potential Spinoff: Laverne & ShirleyThelma & LouiseKelly & Beyoncé. Make it happen.
Where to Watch: Premieres April 5 at 9 p.m. on BET

The Best Little Auction House in Texas

Star: Vikki Vines, owner and auctioneer at Gallery Auctions
Concept: The show chronicles the crazy characters and adventures of one of the biggest and busiest auction houses in Texas.
Inspired By: Forebears include Antiques Roadshow and Storage Wars, with just a hint of Duck Dynasty thrown in.
Potential Spinoff: We would have loved an entire show about Stella, the rotund English bulldog, and the ladies in Shiner, Texas, who designed her custom outfits, but sadly she passed away after the pilot episode. RIP.
Where to Watch: Airs Wednesdays at noon on MAV-TV; available for streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime

The Little Couple

Star: Bill Klein, Dr. Jennifer Arnold and, increasingly, their two children—Will, 5, and Zoey, 4
Concept: A refreshingly normal, heartwarming Knollwood Village couple experience highs (two international adoptions) and lows (surgery, cancer).
Inspired By: Airing since 2009, this show followed the success of another TLC show, Little People, Big World.
Potential Spinoff: Maybe a dating show for Will in 20 years, in which contestants have to win over his skeptical sister?
Where to Watch: New episodes for the most recent season ended March 1, but reruns are nearly constant on TLC.

Married to Medicine Houston

Star: Probably Cindi Rose, following in daughter Erica’s reality TV footsteps
Concept: You know the drill: Rich ladies go to lunch, fight, go to galas, make up, gossip, etc.
Inspired By: Married to Medicine, Real Housewives—basically any other Bravo show
Potential Spinoff: Please, God, no.
Where to Watch: Bravo, supposedly? Although there’s been no mention of the show on the Bravo website, and no airdate set despite filming commencing almost a year ago. Could Houston be—gasp—too boring for a Housewives-type show?

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