Spelling check: not so True Tori?

Tori Spelling is back in the news and I got dragged in with her. John Doyle writes in Monday’s Globe and Mail about Spelling’s latest series on Lifetime, True Tori (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.).
The series sounds so reach-y I have not given it a sniff, but its apparently about how Spelling and her Canadian husband Dean McDermott are trying to move forward after rumours he had an affair in Toronto last Christmas.
I actually got a call around that time of the alleged affair from an editor at one of those Florida-based tabloids. Seems they’d heard I cover this TV beat up in Canada and could I go over to Dean’s place and ask if he was sleeping around with anybody. I politely declined, but there you have the whole story in a nutshell–enough people still care about these two that money can be made from the story. Whether its a true story or not doesn’t even seem to matter.
McDermott has been in Toronto hosting episodes of Chopped Canada for Shaw’s Food Network. Way back at Shaw’s Upfront last June he was asked point blank by Rob Salem–then the Star’s TV man–if there was anything to all these infidelity headlines in the tabs.
“Everything’s fantastic–just consider the source,” said McDermott back then.
Well, now, the source is this show he’s doing with the missus. The whole point of the series seems to be can these two overcome infidelity?
Call me old fashioned but this is generally stuff folks should work out in private, not as a means of entertaining viewers who still remember Spelling as Donna from 90210.
Unless, of course, it is all made up. Doyle reports in the Globe story that TMZ and other tabloid sources have raised speculation that this whole cheatin’ hubby scandal was cooked up just to land Spelling a new reality show. If that’s the real truth, as Doyle writes, the whole thing “reeks of sadness and desperation…” Could anybody that famous really be that desperate for more tabloid attention?

Spelling with a fan at the 2008 Hollywood Show

Well, yes, and certainly Spelling has sought it in the past. The reason I was mentioned in the Globe article is because nearly six years ago I spotted Tori and Dean selling autographs at the Hollywood Show, a celebrity autograph convention held a few times a year in Burbank and a few other places. Go here if you want more info on these shows–I’ve been several times over the years and they are an eye opener on so many levels.
Outing Spelling–daughter of one of Hollywood’s wealthiest producers–as a celebrity cash-grabber triggered a bit of a stir, especially since it came during one of the semi-annual TV press tours. Spelling was snapping up twenties right around the same time she was launching her second TV career as a reality show diva. Those Tori & Dean Go Ice Skating, Tori & Dean Do Dishes reality soaps were just starting to fester.
Despite evidence she’s been working the Hollywood Show, Spelling denied she’d ever been there. Jump here to read more of my take at the time of the whole kerfuffle.
Spelling and McDermott have every right to make as many of these shows as they can sell. With 1.2 million tuning in Stateside for the premiere of True Tori–about what Breaking Bad used to draw on U.S. cable before its final season–her brand has yet to bottom out.
So we all need to look in the mirror. Do we watch because, as has been suggested, viewers are endlessly fascinated by other people being humiliated in television? As H.L. Mencken once wrote,” no one…has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

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