If the name “Prentice Penny” sounds unfamiliar to you, it is not because you’ve been slacking on your tabloid reading, but because the man has lived a low-key existence in the entertainment industry up until now. He has been relegated up until now to the backstage tasks of writer or executive producer for minor comedies or comedy-dramas airing on cable television networks, most notably Insecure and The Hustle. Again, you would be forgiven for not having heard of them, as Insecure is a very recent addition on HBO and The Hustle only ran for one season on minor music video broadcaster Fuse.
The choice of adding a virtually unknown name as subtitle to truTV’s upcoming reality show Upscale with Prentice Penny is puzzling to say the least. Fortunately, the main word here is revealing enough about the content of the show. It will involve Prentice sharing his experiences trying to live an upscale lifestyle on the slim disposal income margin of the middle class. He intends to prove that in our consumer-based society, one can easily live an “elevated” existence in terms of food, clothing, and alcohol if one but knows where to sniff for the rock-bottom bargains.
This show is slated for release in 2017. The truTV channel has picked it up for a series of half-hour episodes. From the description, it looks like it will be most similar to a travel show, with Penny hunting for deals in different places. In terms of his personal interests, he is an appropriate choice for such a project. Just perusing his pictures online and seeing him in interviews, one gets the sense that he likes to dress very lavishly. The network has been moving in the direction of reality shows as well, so it might fit in with their existing catalogue if it is executed in such a way to attract younger viewers.
However, it takes more than just interest and writing skills to make these narrative reality shows interesting for a younger audience. Richard Ayoade did it with his ridiculously phlegmatic on-screen personality and comedic timing in the cult TV hit Travel Man. Others do it by maintaining a high level of energy throughout the program. Still others achieve fame by having a unique on-screen persona or accent. Watching Prentice Penny on interviews, one gets the sense that he lacks any such hooks in his delivery. It is unlikely that the show will make much of an impact.
If Penny has trouble bringing in viewers, which will likely be the case, truTV will not be shy about cancelling the show, as they did with recent reality flops like Bear Swamp Recovery and Ma’s Roadhouse among countless others. The network is clearly hungering for original programming, as they currently run far too many prank video compilation shows and internet video compilation shows than is recommendable for a serious TV network.
Season 1 isn’t even close to premiering, so it’s too early to tell the likely fate of Prentice Penny’s reality series. If you’re looking forward to this one and want to know exactly when the show is officially cancelled or when it’s renewed
What do you think of this new show? Did you enjoy any of Prentice Penny’s other works? Are you interested in watching a reality series about hunting for deals on “luxury” items? Are you angry about some of the programming cancellation decisions that truTV has made over the years? Give us your opinions down below.