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Television Review

Fox's reality soap 'Nashville' is dullsville

Among the fame-seekers staging hookups and romantic hang-ups for the cameras are (from left) Sarah Gunsolus, Lindsey Hager, Rachel Bradshaw, and Mika Combs. Among the fame-seekers staging hookups and romantic hang-ups for the cameras are (from left) Sarah Gunsolus, Lindsey Hager, Rachel Bradshaw, and Mika Combs. (JEREMY COWART/FOX)

If the phrase "From the creators of 'Laguna Beach' " makes you want to break out your antibacterial lotion for an emergency scrub, stay away from Fox's new reality show, "Nashville." Actually, even if you're a shameless lover of "Laguna Beach" and its spinoff, "The Hills," you should probably avoid this country-flavored iteration of the semi-scripted reality soap formula. It's pretty doggone dull.

The bottom line: Beautiful plastic people pretending to have hearts are a lot less entertaining outside the borders of California. "Nashville," which premieres at 9 p.m. on Channel 25, gives us the familiar clique of lookers, all of them staging hookups and romantic hang-ups for the cameras. But most of these folks want to be stars in the country-music capital of the world, too. They have dreams of fame, fortune, and friendship with Carrie Underwood. Yup, dreams. And nothing compromises vapidity, duplicity, and superficiality like dreams.

Plus, no hot tub? Seriously, does no bubbles mean no footsie? Because no footsie means no fun.

The premiere introduces the gang with a surprising amount of confusion, considering the fact that "The Real World" long ago showed reality factory workers how to present a new cast clearly. A bunch of men with chiseled all-American features and women with Faith Hill hair just kind of wind up in Nashville in the same social group, and at one point at the same party. I guess it was fate that brought them together so suddenly, or maybe just a tight shooting schedule.

Rachel Bradshaw promises to be the most distinctive of the gals, largely because she's the daughter of football personage Terry Bradshaw and she is, no doubt, rich. She is also stone cold, and the scene where she dumps her boyfriend over the phone is the show's only truly awesome moment. She treats him like a stubborn piece of lint.

But Rachel gets hers soon enough, when the most distinctive guy, Clint, also rich, ices her as soon as she's single again. Clint, whose father sells airplanes, is a flirtatious louse who isn't above using his wealth to seduce. The rest of the cast - including Chuck, a singer courting label interest, and Matt, who lost a label deal and is fighting for another chance - are fairly bland and not rich. Indeed, there's a real live coal miner's daughter, Mika, on the scene.

Naturally, as with all of these reality soaps, the drama is manufactured for the cameras - probably more so than in Robert Altman's classic portrait of Music City, "Nashville," which was, you know, meant to be fictional. But anyone who has enjoyed TV's reality soap genre is probably already down with the fakeness and contrivance. What they won't appreciate are the presence of sincere aspirations, which are about as scandalous and dishy as a cold shower.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at For more on TV, visit

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On: Fox, Channel 25

Time: Tonight, 9-10