Rookies face harsh reality

'Book Club,' 'Guy' fail to find audiences

Turns out pushing the creative envelope isn’t always a good thing when it comes to reality TV.

ABC and CBS took some chances in June by launching a pair of unscripted skeins that departed from the all-too-familiar conventions of the genre.

Both bombed — big time.

Eye’s “Tuesday Night Book Club,” a mash-up of “Desperate Housewives” and “Laguna Beach,” looked and sounded like an expensive scripted sudser. But without the corny confessionals and pre-arranged story beats that are now a staple of most “reality” shows, auds didn’t know what to make of the hour. CBS pulled the plug after just two weeks.

As of June 22, ABC’s “How to Get the Guy” was still on the air despite dismal ratings. Like “Book Club,” the skein — in which so-called “life coaches” dispense relationship advice to a group of lonely women — looks great and avoids many reality cliches. But with no competition element, the show feels better suited for TLC than ABC.

As for other summer reality contenders, NBC is praying “America’s Got Talent” lives up to last week’s strong bow, and CBS is counting down the days to the season premiere of “Big Brother 7.”

But Fox may have the summer sleeper with “Duets,” in which civilians and celebs try to make beautiful music together. Lots of train wreck potential there — and in reality TV, that’s a good thing.

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