Reality TV and Las Vegas seem to go hand in hand. We’ve long basked in the spotlight of these “unscripted” programs and everyone seems to want to join the party — even the Las Vegas City Council. The Discovery Channel starting shooting Vegas 24-7, a reality show centering on Las Vegas City Hall, last week.
Council members only passed the proposal to shoot Vegas 24-7 by one vote, but others in Las Vegas show no reluctance when it comes to letting cameras front and center into their lives. Here are some of the places where you can watch the “reality” of Las Vegas:
Whether its a terrible tramp stamp to a moan-worthy misspelling, everyone makes mistakes. In Las Vegas, the really bad mistakes are creatively covered up on Bad Ink. Watch as tattoo artist and musician Dirk Vermin, owner of Pussykat Tattoo in Las Vegas, and his friend, Rob Ruckus seek out and transform the worst tattoos. Season two starts Monday, Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. on A&E.
In other tattoo-related reality TV news, season four of Ink Master starts Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 10 p.m. on Spike TV. Watch as 17 tattoo artists, including two from Las Vegas — Walter “Sausage” Frank of Club Tattoo in the Miracle Mile Shops and King Ruck (a.k.a Josh Glover) of Black Spade Tattoo — compete in various challenges, battling it out for a $100,000 cash prize and the Ink Master title. The winner is chosen by a panel of judges including Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction and renowned tattoo artists Chris Nunez of “Miami Ink” and Oliver Peck of Elm Street Tattoo. Last season’s winner, Joey Hamilton, is an artist at Club Tattoo in Las Vegas.
Some people have lots of tattoos, others have lots of wives. Such is the case with the Kody Brown’s Las Vegas polygamist family, featured on Sister Wives, which airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on TLC. The show follows the lives of Brown, his wives and their 17 children. The family relocated from Utah and owns four homes on a Las Vegas cul de sac. Only one of the marriages is legal, the other three are considered spiritual unions.
It’s a rare day when you pass by the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in downtown Las Vegas — home to the reality TV show Pawn Stars — and don’t see a line out the door. The popularity of Pawn Stars has yet to fade and the hit show continues to woo viewers Thursdays at 9 p.m. on the History Channel. Since debuting on the History Channel in 2009 it has become one of the network’s highest-rated shows, transforming the pawn shop into a must-see Vegas attraction. People flock to the store on their own or on a group tour, hoping for a chance to get an item appraised or to see one of the stars Rick Harrison, his son Corey “Big Hoss,” dad Richard “Old Man” and Austin “Chumlee” Russell.
Pawn Stars’ success spawned other reality shows on the History Channel, such as American Restoration, which airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. The show features Rick Dale and his team at Rick’s Restorations in Las Vegas as they restore one-of-a-kind items, impossible-to-find parts and face tough deadlines as they take unique, broken-down items such as a 1960s NASA Jet Pack and a 1920s grand piano.
Counting Cars is another History Channel spinoff filmed in Las Vegas. This show, which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., chronicles the daily activities at Count’s Kustoms, an automobile restoration and customization company owned and operated by former Pawn Stars expert Danny Koker.
Tanked on Animal Planet follows the antics of two brothers-in-law, Wayde King and Brett Raymer, as they run Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), the largest aquarium manufacturing company in the nation. The 13,000-square-foot facility is located just off the Strip in Las Vegas and produces one-of-a-kind tanks for one-of-a-kind clients. The new season premiers Saturdays at 9 p.m. in April.
Get an inside look at the above favorites on the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop of Pawn Stars VIP Tour.
January brings two brand new Las Vegas-based shows to the reality TV lineup.
Thrift Hunters, which premieres Saturday, Jan. 18 at 9:30 p.m. on Spike TV, features Las Vegas rummaging gurus Jason T. Smith and Bryan Goodman as they seek out valuable and unusual items at low prices. They scour various thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales for hidden gems — such as a rare pair of “Gone with the Wind” tickets and a vintage Smith Corona typewriter — then they put them up for auction at a higher price.
On Sunday, Jan. 26 at 9 p.m., secure a ringside seat (in front of your TV) to watch life outside the ring for three-time World Boxing Champion and Las Vegas resident Fernando Vargas on Welcome to Los Vargas. This Hispanic celebrity reality series from the mun2 network highlights the intimate moments of the retired boxer and his family, including wife Martha, her father and their four children. It also follows Vargas on his mission to train the next great boxing champion and open a gym.
Rumored in the works
The Las Vegas Sun reports that The Travel Channel has green lit production for an original pilot called Street Cred, which follows Las Vegas magician Penn Jillette as he seeks out America’s best street performers. The Sun says, “The magician, comedian and former street performer will team up with undercover experts to seek out the show’s unwitting contestants through hidden cameras, rewarding the best with a $10,000 tip.”
Jillette, who has appeared on both The Celebrity Apprentice and the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice is also competing on Season 3 of the Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy (as in Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri). The cooking competition premiered last week and as in past reality show appearances, Jillette is competing for the Las Vegas charity, Opportunity Village.
CW, meanwhile, has been rumored to pick up nine episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us in which aspiring magicians are invited to fool Penn & Teller with their best magic trick. Anyone who succeeds gets to perform in Penn & Teller’s show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.