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HBO’s The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst was a huge smash hit for the cable channel, so one expects imitators to come out of the woodwork. We didn’t necessarily expect this however, as E! is working on a mockumentary-style comedy that casts former American Idol host Brian Dunkleman as himself, but also as a suspected serial killer.
You’re forgiven if the name Brian Dunkleman doesn’t mean anything to you. Dunkleman co-hosted American Idol’s first season along with Ryan Seacrest, but then left the show to work on his acting and stand-up comedy career. He’s sort of the Pete Best of reality television. TV Line is reporting that the show, tentatively titled Quest 4 Truth: Dunkleman will take this actual history as its starting point and then expand into fiction. In the fictional story, Dunkleman is so broken up over the fact that he inadvertently cost himself millions of dollars by leaving the show that he apparently drives himself crazy and becomes a serial killer. People have certainly killed for less.
The concept was co-created by Ben McMillan and Psych star James Roday, who will both be executive producers as well. The series looks to mark Roday’s return to television after Psych wrapped up its run in 2014. Roday was a competent hand behind the camera on that series, acting as producer as well as writer and director for several episodes in the latter half of the series' run. It will be interesting to see what he can help put together with a concept he helped start from scratch.
It’s an interesting concept, and a novel way for Dunkleman to work his way back into the spotlight. Using the real-life situation as a launchpad should add an element of realism to the series, even if most people will still have to be reminded who he is. If the series can get support from other American Idol stars, it could actually be quite funny. Bonus points if Ryan Seacrest becomes a murder victim at some point. Seacrest is still the managing editor of E! News, so it’s not even that far of a stretch to predict he may be involved at some point, if only in a guest spot.
The show is still early in development, so it could go anywhere, if it goes anywhere at all. Still, the idea is just nuts enough to be funny if they’re able to balance the “serious documentary” with the comedy just right. It's good to see that Dunkleman will be able to laugh at unfortunate financial decisions. It's better than crying. Or murdering lots of people. Though we draw the line at serial murdering dogs. That’s just not funny.