How bad is the real estate market? The guy on “Flipping Out” (8 p.m., Bravo) isn’t doing much flipping anymore. He’s an interior designer now. Why the program is still called “Flipping Out” is anybody’s good guess. Perhaps “Draping Interiors” just doesn’t have the right Bravo cachet.
You know a business is bad when it can’t even work on reality TV. Reality is the land of fake businesses that are sustained by the exposure and advertising of being on television all the time.
In the olden days, real businesses actually paid for commercials that made it possible to hire actors and writers and put on real shows. Now we have “reality” shows consisting of nothing but commercials for businesses that don’t make much sense. For all the talk of a “business plan” on “Fabulous Beekman Boys,” those guys expect to pay a mortgage on a mansion by selling soap made out of goat’s milk — in a shop in a very small town. Not even all this free exposure can sustain some of these fake businesses and boutiques.
In fact, if you’re a paparazzi in search of a picture of a reality star, the best place to stalk them is bankruptcy court. At least two of “The Real Housewives of New York” have been there. And when “American Chopper” Junior and Senior aren’t fighting with each other, they seem to be battling charges of bankruptcy fraud. Could their chopper shop have made it without the “Chopper” cable hype? And seriously, who has been before a bankruptcy judge more often than Donald Trump, host of “The Apprentice"?
So why should we be surprised that “Flipping” star Jeff Lewis has ditched speculative real estate for high-end interior design? He’s designed the “Kitchen of the Year” for House Beautiful, which begs the question: Is the magazine a product placement on “Flipping Out,” or is “Flipping Out” getting free publicity in House Beautiful? Who’s hyping whom? When executives from the show meet with folks from the magazine, who picks up the check for lunch?
This being Bravo and reality television, expect snarky asides and brittle behavior on season five of “Flipping Out.” And look for that most time-honored reality tradition of all, the elaborate birthday party.
• The 2010 documentary “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” (8 p.m., Bio) recalls the scandal that derailed the political career of the host of “In the Arena” (8 p.m., CNN) and, in part, inspired the CBS series “The Good Wife.”
Tonight’s other highlights
• Cat Deeley hosts two hours of “So You Think You Can Dance” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Georgia dates the owner of her new favorite yogurt shop on “State of Georgia” (7:30 p.m., ABC Family), starring Raven-Symone.
• Charity football on “Royal Pains” (8 p.m., USA).
• Flying bats loom large on “Love in the Wild” (9 p.m., NBC).
• Joe prepares for a golf comeback on “Men of a Certain Age” (9 p.m., TNT).
• A nervous news anchor needs Dani’s therapy on “Necessary Roughness” (9 p.m., USA).
• A martial-arts instructor takes up the wrong sideline on “Locked Up Abroad” (9 p.m., National Geographic).
• “Behind the Music” (9 p.m., VH1) profiles Ice Cube.