×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants

If beauty pageants are most interesting when contestants stumble (that Miss Teen USA dissertation on America’s deficiency with geography comes to mind), then CW might have stumbled onto the mother of guilty-pleasure reality competitions.

With:
Judges: Carson Kressley, Shanna Moakler, Cynthia Garrett.

If beauty pageants are most interesting when contestants stumble (that Miss Teen USA dissertation on America’s deficiency with geography comes to mind), then CW might have stumbled onto the mother of guilty-pleasure reality competitions. The only real problem with “Crowned” is that after the premiere of this mother-daughter elimination game — including a few teams where the daughter is 18-20 and mom hasn’t turned 40 yet — many viewers will want to gong all of them. Thanks to the dim-bulb candidates, the series is worth watching for judge Carson Kressley’s bitchy asides and reaction shots alone.

At first, there’s a fear that “Crowned” — whose exec producer Laurie Girion did the laudable “Cheerleader Nation” — will traffic in little more than the usual reality beats and pageant stereotypes: Heart-warming tales of woe (the mother with a kidney transplant, the current Miss Wyoming and her widowed mom), shrewish stage moms and catfights behind plastered-on smiles.

There is some of that — “Amazing Race” bickering (one girl petulantly rolls her eyes and whines “Momma, just let me talk!”) mixed with the pushy parents of Bravo’s “Showbiz Moms & Dads.” Yet once the pairs are tasked with giving their duos a name and cobbling together little introductory presentations for the judges, the series rises to a whole new level of chewy train-wreck goodness.

One team dubs itself “Silent But Deadly,” only to look stricken when Kressley points out that the expression reminds him of breaking wind. After a particularly convoluted response to a judge’s question, the “Queer Eye” guy mutters, “I need an interpreter.” Nor are his colleagues — former Miss USA Shanna Moakler and personality Cynthia Garrett — much easier on the aspirants, who don’t realize that “Skin Deep” implies shallowness or that the term “bombshell” doesn’t necessarily connote intelligence.

“Crowned” might suffer over the long haul (that is, its full eight-week run) simply because the general ineptitude of its gene pool will depress rooting interest in the candidates. The rooting against factor, however, should be formidable, and the show will receive a helpful push-start by following the “America’s Next Top Model” finale before settling into that franchise’s 8 p.m. showcase.

CW could certainly use a hit, or at least another utility player to bolster a lineup whose new-drama performance has thus far been wholly underwhelming. While the netlet’s latest femme series competition doesn’t break any new ground, it deftly taps into two basic feelings — envy and superiority — that have not only helped make reality TV what it is today but could help “Crowned” sashay off looking like a winner.

Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants

CW, Weds. Dec. 12, 9 p.m

Production: Produced by Fox Television Studios. Executive producer, Laurie Girion; co-executive producer, James Canniffe; supervising challenge producer, Heather Schuster; director, Tony Sacco.

Crew: Editor, Paul Wiesepape; line producer, Jason Cooper; supervising casting producer, Scott Salyers. Running time: 60 MIN.

Cast: Judges: Carson Kressley, Shanna Moakler, Cynthia Garrett.

More TV

  • Jenji Kohan

    'Orange Is the New Black' Creator Jenji Kohan to Be Honored by Writers Guild

    Jenji Kohan, creator and showrunner of “Orange Is the New Black” and “Weeds,” has been named recipient of the Writers Guild of America West’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement. She will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards show on Feb. 17 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Jenji Kohan’s [...]

  • Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Local

    Sinclair Enters Streaming Arena With Entertainment Bundle and Local Channels

    Sinclair Broadcast Group is diving into the increasingly crowded streaming platform arena with the launch today of Stirr, a free OTT entertainment bundle offering local news and general entertainment, sports and lifestyle channels. Sinclair aims to leverage the near-national reach of its sprawling station group with its strong local presence in markets across the country [...]

  • 'Space Force' Series From Steve Carell,

    'Space Force' Comedy Series From Steve Carell, Greg Daniels Set at Netflix

    President Donald Trump’s proposed space force may debut on Netflix before it actually makes it to space. Variety has learned that the streaming giant has ordered a comedy series from “The Office” alums Steve Carell and Greg Daniels titled “Space Force.” It is described as a workplace comedy centered around the people tasked with creating a sixth [...]

  • Jason Katims Writers Office

    Jason Katims Sets Apple Overall Deal

    Jason Katims is departing his longtime home at Universal TV for a new multi-year overall deal at Apple. Katims and his True Jack Productions banner will remain at Universal TV until this summer when his current deal expires before making the move to Apple. He has previously created shows like “Parenthood,” “Roswell,” “About a Boy,” and [...]

  • Homecoming Amazon Studios

    Julia Roberts Will Not Return for 'Homecoming' Season 2

    Julia Roberts will not be starring in “Homecoming” Season 2 at Amazon, Variety has confirmed. The Oscar-winning actress will remain on the show as an executive producer, however. “Homecoming” was picked up for two seasons when it was initially ordered at Amazon, but Roberts only had a one-year deal to star on the show, according to [...]

  • ‘Metro Exodus’ Opens Up Post-Apocalyptic Russia

    ‘Metro Exodus’ Author On Film, Possible TV Series, Expansive New Game

    Since the launch of the post-apocalyptic survival first-person shooter “Metro 2033” in 2010, the series has kept its action confined to the tunnels running underneath Russia. “Metro Exodus,” due out next month, takes the gameplay to the surface for the first time, going above ground with sprawling levels against a changing backdrop of weather conditions [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content