Inside Move: Reality bites ABC

Parody site turns sked into Alphabet soup

ABC announced plans last week to dump all of its remaining scripted fare in favor of an all-reality lineup. Projects added to the lineup at the net — now dubbed “The Reality Network” — include “American Pimp,” “When Animals Attack Animal Rights Activists,” “Unhappily Married by America,” “Snoop Dogg’s Tha U.S. Idozll” and “Are You Stupid?”

Web site broke the news on — surprise! — April Fool’s Day.

The team at the parody site — made up mostly of non-entertainment journos — created a Web site that looks identical to ABC’s actual address.

But it’s all bogus.

The Alphabet web isn’t actually airing “Crossing Guards,” the show that promises to chronicle the men and women who safeguard our nation’s intersections. And it won’t be running “Switch,” the Jimmy Smits-hosted reality skein that “takes four fine young men and turns them into fine young women.”

Jason Snell, editor of, says the site decided to poke fun at reality TV this year for its annual April Fool’s prank. Once they realized ABC aired the lion’s share of this winter’s reality entries, the joke got even more ambitious.

“We hit on ABC only because it seemed like ABC was suffering, and it would be a slightly more realistic premise when people stared at the site bleary-eyed on April Fool’s Day,” Snell says.

As word of the faux Web site hit ABC, execs weren’t sure whether the site was the work of ex-employees or perhaps a rival network. The depth of detail — right down to fake letters from exec Lloyd Braun — seemed to indicate the touch of a Hollywood insider.

An ABC spokesman had no comment on the site, but at least one top exec at the net was amused. “It’s very, very funny,” the exec says.

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