New A&E/Seacrest Reality Show Spotlights Mental Illness

I’m of the mind that the best reality shows on television come in two distinct varieties. First, there are the creative competitions like “Top Chef,” “Project Runway,” and the like. Those are great shows and always beat watching the two lesser Kardashian sisters spend a day at Busch Gardens. The second variety of superior reality show is the extremely serious docudrama genre, the kind you find on A&E and (shockingly) on MTV’s “True Life” series. “Intervention” is a brilliant, excruciating show, a show so wrenching that many alcohol education classes across the U.S. screen the show for people who have been arrested for DUI. The A&E shows treat their subjects with a greater deal of respect than most reality shows, and the payoff is legitimately moving drama.

Now comes word A&E and Ryan Seacrest(!) are prepping another entry in the genre called ”The Incurables,” which follows around people with seemingly permanent psychological afflictions, some of which are pretty crazy. From Nellie Andreeva over at Deadline:

Each 60-minute episode would feature (self-help guru Paul) McKenna trying to help two ‘incurable’ people with different psychological and/or physical conditions using his transformation techniques. Examples include the uncontrollable shouting and bizarre facial tics of a man suffering from Tourettes Syndrome and the shocking sight of a woman pulling out and eating her own hair (Tricotilla Mania). Ryan Seacrest Prods. and McKenna Media are producing, with Intervention executive producer Mettler, Seacrest and Paul Mckenna executive producing.

EATING HAIR! I did not know that was a legitimate mental illness. I’m already riveted. No word on if the show will try and tackle Seacrest’s obsession with frosting his tips. Because left unchecked, that really could spiral out of control.

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