Tube Talk: Weirdest crossover ever? Ghost Hunters and Real Housewives of Atlanta

August 25, 2010

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

Most TV crossovers make sense, like when a case on NCIS leads the agents to Los Angeles and they wind up in an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, or having Criminal Minds’ Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) use her computer-hacking expertise for both the original show and its upcoming spin-off, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

Others are a bit of a stretch. Finding out Homicide’s Detective Munch (Richard Belzer) took a new job with the Special Victim’s Unit on Law & Order: SVU was plausible. After all, Homicide and the original Law & Order did multiple crossover episodes, so they were already part of the same “universe.” But Munch turning up on Arrested Development? That was a bit of a stretch.

(I believe Belzer still holds the record for playing the same character on more television series than anyone in TV history.)

But those are scripted series. Reality crossovers aren’t nearly as common. MTV’s Real World and Road Rules crossed over into a separate competition series, Real World/Road Rules Challenge. And every now and then, some reality “star” or another pops up on another reality show—like Kate Gosselin on Dancing with the Stars or Rock of Love’s Bret Michaels on Celebrity Apprentice. The Amazing Race has even had competitors from its fellow CBS reality competition shows, Big Brother and Survivor.

But Ghost Hunters meets Real Housewives of Atlanta? Now that’s a stretch even Gumby might have trouble with.

First, Syfy’s Ghost Hunters crew is based out of Rhode Island, not Atlanta. Most of their investigations take place in or around New England. Second, the unusual phenomena that Grant, Jason and the TAPS team encounter on Ghost Hunters sometimes seems more realistic than the contrived situations seen on any edition of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise.

What’s the connection? Syfy and Bravo are both part of the NBC Universal family.

Crossovers usually work because the shows share a similar fan base (like the recent crossover between Eureka and Warehouse 13), but other than sharing the same parent company, Ghost Hunters and Real Housewives of Atlanta have nothing in common. Despite the two shows’ vastly different audiences, there is a reason behind the crossover: exposing the shows to a new demographic might lure fans of one show into watching the other.

Sure, viewers may tune in hoping to see a laugh riot of a train wreck, but will the stunt have any long-term results? I doubt it.

Does this mean if Ghost Hunters’ ratings soar when Atlanta’s Sheree, NeNe and Kim “help” investigate Atlanta’s landmark Rhodes Hall, we can expect the TAPs crew to be taking road trips to other Real Housewives locations? I hope not.

Honestly, I’d rather see them take another Bravo reality star, Kathy Griffin (My Life on the D-List), along on an investigation. Since paranormal investigations require a bit of silence, they probably wouldn’t get much done with Griffin around, but just imagine the questions she might ask the supposed ghosts. Then again, she’d probably have a better time on Real Housewives.

Programming note

Ghost Hunters mid-season premiere airs Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m.

Paula Hendrickson writes regularly for Emmy, Variety and Creative Screenwriting, and has a feature article about the classic 100-year-old California Craftsman bungalow—owned by the couple who created the series NUMB3RS—in the current issue of American Bungalow (Fall 2010).

From the Aug. 25-31, 2010 issue

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