This morning, A&E announced it has picked up Donnie Loves Jenny, an unscripted series that will follow Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy as they adjust to life as a newly married couple. The show confirms what many of us already guessed, that A&E is cutting its scripted content, like the recently canceled Longmire, and replacing it with more reality programming.
Today’s announcement notes that production on Donnie Loves Jenny begins immediately. The new series has been picked up for 10 episodes, following Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy on their wedding day and during their regular lives. The series will consist of a wedding special that will run for an hour on the network. Subsequently, 9 half-hour episodes are also being produced for TV.
Donnie Wahlberg is already a fixture on A&E. He’s part of the show Wahlburgers, which follows the famous Wahlberg family as they run a restaurant business. The various trials and tribulations of running a business are explored on the show, as are family matters. As a result of also focusing on family life, then-girlfriend Jenny McCarthy was introduced early during the show’s run, as well. Wahlberg and McCarthy were only wed back in September, and it’s probably a no-brainer, ratings-wise, for A&E to sign on for Donnie Loves Jenny. But the decision should still feel like a bit of a slap in the face for many loyal A&E viewers.
Back in August, A&E’s popular drama was canceled by the network in a somewhat surprising move. At the time, it was speculated that executives at the network wanted more control over its content, as well as higher profit margins. And since Longmire was a program that was produced by a division of Warner Bros. it wasn’t an ideal fit. The news came just over a year after A&E canceled another decent-performing drama, The Glades. That leaves Bates Motel as the one lone scripted drama on the network.
Fans of both shows felt the losses acutely, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if A&E plans to replace the scripted content with more scripted content. Instead, we are getting Donnie Loves Jenny, and I guess we’ll have to be content with the new reality series, or look elsewhere for new programming. I guess if we are feeling magnanimous we could even say that Donnie Loves Jenny would have happened with or without new Longmire episodes. But that's not really what it feels like, at least not when we're still missing the sheriff.
If you are excited about Donnie Loves Jenny, you can catch the series when it hits A&E’s schedule in early 2015.