Our summer TV preview continues. Earlier this week, we highlighted new show Pretty Little Liars starring Asian American Shay Mitchell, and the return of favorites Drop Dead Diva with Margaret Cho, The Next Food Network Star, and True Beauty. Here, some more mindless fun on the small screen.
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, Bravo
Premieres Wednesday, June 9, 11 pm
They’ve done chefs, fashion designers, dancers, singers, hair stylists and interior designers. There’s even talk of a new bartender competition reality show. So it only makes sense that contemporary artists would be the next to join in the reality show fray. Except this one is produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and hosted by Chinese American model China Chow, art enthusiast and daughter of the late model and fashion icon Tina Chow and restaurateur Michael Chow (of the famed Mr. Chow and Eurochow restaurants).
Work of Art: The Next Great Artist is Bravo’s latest entrant into the reality show arena. Fourteen contemporary artists will compete for a solo show at a nationally recognized museum and a cash prize.
Born in London, Chow moved to New York at the age of 5 and grew up in the ’80s art world of Manhattan. Counting famed artists like Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel and Francesco Clemente as family friends, you can say Chow pretty much grew up in art. Chow even learned how draw elephants from renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Even more exciting, the early buzz on the show paints Vietnam-born artist and curator Trong Nguyen as a front-runner. The Brooklyn-based Nguyen has exhibited his work all around the world, and has been reviewed by The New York Times, Paper, Village Voice and loads of other publications. He is currently working on a “metaphysical GPS” application for the iPhone and runs his artist-as-company project, Humanitarians Not Heroes.
HGTV Design Star, HGTV
Premieres Sunday, June 13, 10 pm
Award-winning architectural and interior designer Vern Yip returns to judge the cult hit reality show, HGTV Design Star.
Yip, who just announced that he adopted a baby boy with his partner, runs his own design company in Atlanta, Ga., Vern Yip Designs. With a master’s in management, and a master’s in architecture from The Georgia Institute of Technology, Yip transforms rooms, houses and restaurants — on television and in his private practice — ranging in budget from frugal to eight-figure projects for high-end clients, including the design for a high-profile Oscar party in 2006.
This season, one of the contestants on Design Star is Julie Khuu, a 29-year-old interior designer from Santa Ana, Calif. An interior design graduate from The Art Institute of California, Khuu works on everything from hospitality design to home consultation. A self-described overachiever and socialite, Khuu calls her design style “modern global glamour” and says that her favorite projects involve designing spaces for nightclubs.
Top Chef: Washington D.C., Bravo
Premieres Wednesday, June 16, 9 pm
Host Padma Lakshmi is back. This time, the Indian American model will be judging the culinary contenders in Washington, D.C.
One of the first internationally successful Indian models, Lakshmi has since written two cookbooks, the best-selling Easy Exotic, for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time writer, and her memoir-filled cookbook Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet. She’s also hosted a variety of cooking and food shows, including Padma’s Passport, and the documentary series Planet Food on The Food Network and worldwide on the Discovery Channel.
But her talents don’t stop there. Lakshmi launched a line of fine jewelry last year at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. And this year, Lakshmi became the new face of Pantene’s Nature Fusion line.
Among the contestants Lakshmi will be judging is Arnold Myint, a 32-year-old Thai-Burmese American from Nashville. He’s the owner and chef of Cha Chah (voted Best New Restaurant by Nashville Scene in 2009), PM, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, all located in Nashville. The competitive professional figure-skater-turned-chef is expected to bring his own colorful personality into the mix this season.
Bemoaning the loss of Lost? It’s the same feeling we had after Friends and Seinfeld ended. Well, television execs are not giving up on you so easily. They’ve got a whole slew of shows set to premiere for the summer season, starting tonight. Here, some shows with some AA representation you may wanna watch this week.
Drop Dead Diva, Lifetime
Premieres Sunday, June 6, 9 pm
Former Audrey cover girl Margaret Cho returns as the title character’s sassy assistant Teri in the second season of the Lifetime hit series Drop Dead Diva. Here’s the premise: shallow wannabe model Deb dies in a sudden car accident only to find her soul resurfacing in the body of a brilliant, plus-size and recently deceased attorney, Jane (Brooke D’Orsay). Deb has to come to terms not just with Jane’s curvier frame, but with how to reconcile her beauty-queen ways with her brilliant new mind. D’Orsay does an amazing job conveying Deb-in-Jane, and based on some premiere photos, it looks like Cho is gonna take on a bigger role in the series.
Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family
Premieres Tuesday, June 8, 8 pm
You’ve seen the billboards. Four hot young girls, covered in dirt. Eye catching, to say the least. But what really stood out to me is the girl on the far right, actress Shay Mitchell.
Mitchell plays Emily Fields, an athletic girl who is struggling with her sexuality and the loss of her best friend. Emily, along with her now estranged, former BFFs, holds a deep, dark secret within in what appears to be the perfect little town of Rosewood. But they’re not the only ones with secrets apparently, as things start to go very wrong.
Mitchell, whose mother is Filipino and father is Irish-Scottish, is a native of Toronto, Canada. She’s been performing and modeling since the age of 5, appearing in the hit series DeGrassi: The Next Generation and Disney’s Aaron Stone. She is featured in the music video for Sean Paul’s hit song “Hold My Hand” and will appear in the upcoming ABC series Rookie Blue.
But Mitchell is not the token Asian in this series. Janel Parrish also stars in Pretty Little Liars as now popular classmate Mona Vanderwall. Parrish, best known for her role as Jade in the Bratz series, and May in NBC’s Heroes, was born in Oahu, Hawaii, and is Chinese-Caucasian American.
The Next Food Network Star, The Food Network
Premieres Sunday, June 6, 9 pm
Another season of cooking hopefuls looking to land their own show. Last season, Korean American Debbie Lee made it to the top three. This season, Chinese American Doreen Fang is gonna try to make it with her California cuisine with Asian influences.
The 38-year-old from Los Angeles co-owns a catering company and teaches cooking classes for adults and children. Raised in a predominantly Chinese community, Fang says she finds culinary inspiration in her family and friends, and wants to encourage home cooks of all levels to explore new cuisines, and stretch their imagination in recreating dishes inspired by a childhood memory or favorite haunts.
True Beauty, ABC
Mondays, 10 pm
Last (and unfortunately, probably least), we have yet another season of the reality show competition where contestants think they’re being judged on their good looks, but they’re actually being judged on their “inner beauty.” (They haven’t figured it out yet??)
Filipina-Italian American Vanessa Minnillo returns to host, and this time, they’ve got an Asian American contestant, Amy, who was adopted from Korea as an infant. The bio on Amy on ABC’s website describes her as “ditzy” and she says she “doesn’t identify with Asian culture.” Hm. I say, watch at your own peril.