Today’s cuppa: Northern Lights strawberry-maple tea (straight from Vancouver, B.C.). Mmmm, tasty.

When I’m not blogging, I’m a writer of syndicated TV features and columns. Many of them are regularly reproduced on the Internet, some are not. So, every now and then, I’m going to share some of the second group with my loyal Cuppers.

Among them, as I discovered today, is Josh Temple — a fan of the espresso coffee — host of the upcoming "America’s Toughest Jobs," the first NBC show from reality producer Thom Beers.


As any Cupper knows, I love the Beers, and I love him in print as well as online. I do a weekly column called "We’d Like to See," in which I often make up all sorts of silly shows that I’d like to see on TV — without, as I often say, any concern about practicality, budget or even common sense. Here’s this week’s edition:

From crab fishermen ("Deadliest Catch") to to big-rig drivers ("Ice Road Truckers") to loggers *("Ax Men") to oil drillers ("Black Gold") to exterminators ("Verminators"), reality producer Thom Beers has turned working for a living into a cottage TV industry. And since he narrates most of these shows, in a sense he’s become the voice of the American worker.

My job may not be as thrilling or death-defying as the above occupations — although I did stab myself with a push pin the other day — I’m sure I’m not alone in fantasizing that Beers’ rumbling baritone could follow me throughout my day.

"Somewhere in the vast expanse of the Los Angeles basin, a lone TV journalist defies the odds to find a treasure of entertainment information. Despite the constant threat of wind, sun and carpal-tunnel syndrome, she strives to bring home … Critical Gold."

Somehow it’s hard to take the discomforts of "Big Brother" housemates too seriously after you’ve seen roughnecks and tree cutters missing digits and/or limbs. And while the contestants on ABC’s "Wipeout" fly left and right off giant balls and speeding treadmills and whirling platforms, they do it with helmets, pads and protective vests.

(OK, does that mean I tried the "Wipeout" course when I visited the set? Heck, no. And I’m sure not going crabbing anytime soon, either.)

Other reality shows may have to kick it up a notch just to keep pace with the perils of The World According to Beers.

Let’s imagine:

"American Flaming Idol": It’s hard to sing under the withering glare of sharp-tongued British judge Simon Cowell, but it’s nearly impossible to sing while running through a series of flaming hoops. Only "Idol" wannabes who stay on key and avoid getting scorched make it to the finale — atop a volcano.

"Hell’s Kitchen — No, Really": Lucifer likes his deviled eggs done just so, and woe betide the cook who forgets to put croutons in his tomato soup. If aspiring chefs think putting up with Gordon Ramsay’s salty tongue is tough, it’s nothing compared to the forked tongue of the Prince of Darkness. He’s opened up his gourmet kitchen to TV cameras, offering the deal of a lifetime — and perhaps eternity itself — to anyone who can produce an over-the-top meal in the Underworld.

"Dancing With the Stars: On Ice": The ballroom is flooded and refrigerated for a competition like no other, featuring guest judge and "DWTS" champion Kristi Yamaguchi, along with British ice-dancing legends Torvill and Dean. The music is live; the skates are sharp; the ice is cold; but the costumes are skimpier than ever.

Among the celebrities braving exhaustion, injury and pneumonia are former hockey star Wayne Gretzky, Canadian singer and celebrity golfer Anne Murray, ice-road trucker Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland, Alaskan-born singer Jewel, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova and, in a surprise move, surfer Laird Hamilton and his wife, former beach volleyball player Gabrielle Reece.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare