Documentary and reality style TV open the airwaves to the locally-tied

If you’ve watched “The Jersey Shore,” “The Biggest Loser,” “My Super Sweet 16,” “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic,” “The Littlest Groom,” any of the “Real Housewives” shows, “The Swan,” “Amish in the City” or any “Real World” season since 1992, you probably know that reality television has a way of casting humanity in the most unflattering light possible. But the documentary style has opened the airwaves for three shows with local ties in more flattering ways.

  • Jackson Landers, the 32-year-old local man who garnered a writeup in the New York Times for his classes that offer a link between hunting and the local food movement, says that he is working on a pilot for Animal Planet, tentatively called "Eating Aliens." The show would follow Landers as he travels the world finding creative ways to hunt and, with the help of a chef, eat invasive species. (Zebra mussel stew, anyone?) Landers’ first book, A Locavore’s Guide to Deer Hunting, will be out in 2011.
  • I followed a tip this morning that one Prince Poppycock, the flamboyant pop-opera singer who has become a finalist on “America’s Got Talent,” was from Keswick. As it turns out, Poppycock—born John Andrew Quale—grew up in Northern Virginia, and his mother Kathleen Quale lives in Keswick and works at Monticello. So if nothing else, let this be a warning to you: If you see a man dressed in the style of the 18th century French aristocracy, his face caked in thick white makeup, never fear. He’s only a singer, passing through to visit his mother. "Talent" shows Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.

Masculinity’s answer to Lady Gaga has local ties. More below.

  • This is just in from UVA Today’s news blog: Phil Plait, who earned a Ph.D. in Astronomy from UVA in the ’90s, hosts a new show on the Discovery Channel called “Bad Universe,” which first airs on Sunday at 10pm. In it Plait, in the mode of the “Mythbusters,” puts claims about astronomy to the test. Who said that stargazing never got anyone anywhere?

Dude’s got his head in the clouds.

Any other folks with local ties on TV lately?

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