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What's new in Reality TV

Pirates, bingo, and babies on loan are some of the topics coming soon to reality TV

After living through The Swan, Boy Meets Boy, Are You Hot?, etc., you may be thinking that reality TV has run out of insane ideas. You’d be wrong. Pirates, bingo, babies on loan — there are so many bizarre topics left to conquer! Take a look at four supremely weird, recently announced reality series.

NATIONAL BINGO NIGHT (ABC)
Warning, dauber diehards: This game show is more Gladiator than The Golden Girls. ”With all due respect to the senior citizens who love bingo, this is not the retirement-community approach,” says creator Andrew Glassman. Instead, Bingo — in which three players battle the studio audience — will feature a two-and-a-half-story, one-ton plexiglass sphere that shoots the numbers around at high speeds. If only David Blaine could squeeze in there too. (May 18)

BABY BORROWERS (NBC)
Here’s one surefire birth-control method: Make teenagers take care of random babies, toddlers, and tweens for three-day spans — and put the whole thing on television. Um, where are they getting these children? From extremely trusting mothers, says exec producer Richard McKerrow, ”who are motivated by the educational nature” of loaning their tots out to strangers. Nannies are present as a safeguard, and parents are also allowed to observe filming — unless they’re too busy playing bingo. (TBA)

PIRATE MASTER: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS (CBS)
Speaking of things that are borrowed, the pirate ship in Mark Burnett’s new CBS show is said to be the real deal, which means the crew must have mad connections. Sixteen contestants will live on the hulk and hunt down a reported million-dollar booty. And yes, they also wear eye patches. Rated arrrgh! (Summer)

FAST CARS & SUPERSTARS: GILLETTE YOUNG GUNS CELEBRITY RACE (ABC)
It’s an LAPD traffic cop’s nightmare: William Shatner, Serena Williams, Jewel, and other B-listers learn to race authentic NASCAR vehicles. A celebrity is cut each show until the ultimate winner walks off with…a shiny silver trophy. Says producer Andrew Fried, ”There were definitely chills and spills. At one point, Jewel drives behind her instructor, yelling at him, ‘Go, go, go! Come on! ‘She was so intense.” (June 7)