Reality TV Show For Historians?

You heard that right.  It was just a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of basing a reality TV show around the eccentricities and annoying behavior of history buffs.  Here is the description for the casting call:

Are you a curious person, and obsessed with history? Can you recite facts inside and out, and name-drop (and even date-drop) with the best of them? Do your friends at trivia night, dare we say it, label you as the history buff? Maybe you’re not a full-blown “buff” but if you like history and get psyched at the idea of even visiting a museum, or actually read those placards on your tour, then we want to meet you…virtually for now though.

It goes without saying that Civil War enthusiasts occupy a unique place along the history buff spectrum.  For this show to have any chance of success they are going to need at least one and perhaps three participants from this quarter.  This morning I tweeted the announcement and John Hennessy quickly responded with a suggestion, which I am in complete agreement with:

John nailed it.  Brooks would be a formidable player.  So, who would you like to see represent our little community on this show?  Remember, this is all in good fun.

23 comments… add one
  • Terry Johnston Apr 2, 2013

    Brooks is a fine choice. But … and I hate to say it … what about John H. himself???

    • Kevin Levin Apr 2, 2013

      Absolutely. John is a pretty big guy with a booming voice.

      • Brooks D. Simpson Apr 3, 2013

        John and I would be an excellent pairing as the Odd Couple, with my daughter Olivia confounding both of us. But the real challenge here is to see whether anyone has the courage of their convictions to send in our names.

        Come on … I dare you.

  • Karen Graham Apr 2, 2013

    Edward Ayers, President of the University of Richmond, himself a noted historian of the Civil War, gave the keynote address on July 28th. of 2011, at a reenactment of the First Battle of Bull Run.

    I was able to view a repeat of the whole event on PBS in January 2012, and I personally think Mr. Ayers is one of the best story tellers I know. I could have listened to him speak for hours. I think he would be a great choice!

  • Ben Allen Apr 2, 2013

    Concerning the entire history community, I would like to see…

    David McCullough (or else there is no point in doing the reality TV show)

    Paul Lockhart (You’d understand if you visited his blog:

    Nathaniel Philbrick (He just had a new book released that might become a movie)

    David Hackett Fischer (One of the best out there. Just look at the how many appendices his books have)

    James M. McPherson (Wrote the definitive one-volume history of the American Civil War, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for it. He stands on the right side of the great prophet, the late Bruce Catton, from whom he took the torch of leadership. To have your book praised by McPherson is like being kissed by an angel.)

    Gordon C. Rhea (What the Dalai Lama is to wisdom Rhea is to the Overland Campaign.)

    Don Troiani (One of the best artist historians out there. When it comes to accuracy, he leaves no stone upturned.)

    Garry Adelman (An employee of the Civil War Trust, Mr. Adelman is so obsessed with the Civil War that it can freak you out. Seriously, Mr. Adelman, you’ve got to be interested in something besides the Civil War! Good historians are always interested in more than one historical topic. Therefore, he is one of my highest recommendations, because he will keep viewers glued to the television with his eccentricity.)

    Rick Atkinson (A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, his Liberation Trilogy is immensely popular. Indeed, the final addition is going to be released in May, so he is one of your best bets to have high ratings.)

    • Kevin Levin Apr 2, 2013

      My wife votes for Emmanuel Dabney and I second it. 🙂

    • Kevin Levin Apr 2, 2013

      Garry is an excellent choice. He would win by simply tiring everyone else out. 🙂

    • R E Watson Apr 4, 2013

      Thanks, Ben. I’ve been waiting for Atkinson’s D-Day through the end for some time now. Glad to hear it’s only a month away !!!!!!

  • Woodrowfan Apr 2, 2013

    I nominate Andy…

  • Barb Gannon Apr 2, 2013

    Now, I think it’s great to have distinguished historians on…..CSPAN People it’s a reality show!!! We need to think who would share a beach house- and start mud wrestling over primary sources. Historiography fights that end up in slug fests.

  • Brad Apr 2, 2013

    If one of the requirements is crazed hockey fan, then it’s Brooks Simpson’s for sure.

  • Bummer Apr 2, 2013

    The Dead Confederate!


    • Andy Hall Apr 3, 2013

      Reality teevee may be my last shot at media fame, since that major studio biopic got shelved years ago with the passing of Chris Farley.

  • John Hennessy Apr 2, 2013

    A house that includes:
    Brooks and Garry Adelman would be hilarious. Could Brooks (with his Long Islandy brutishness) demolish Garry before Garry (in staccato rhythms) subdued Brooks under an avalanche of words?
    Throw in Megan Kate Nelson for cool commentary and comic relief.
    And Kevin can sit in the corner looking disapproving and pained.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 3, 2013


      I honestly have no idea who would come out on top between those two. Brooks has any number of metaphorical sledgehammers that he could utilize against Garry if he can be cornered. I have my doubts about this. It would be highly entertaining.

      • Brooks D. Simpson Apr 3, 2013

        Garry and I would be best as a team on the Ultimate Tour of Little Round Top in five parts.

  • M.D. Blough Apr 2, 2013

    Gordon Rhea and Brooks Simpson would be excellent choices as would you, Kevin, but I would add Richard DiNardo and Carol Reardon.

  • M.D. Blough Apr 2, 2013

    I also would be happy to see Andy Hall (the Dead Confederate) too and Ed Bearss.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 3, 2013

      Ed Bearss… Oh, hell yes.

      • M.D. Blough Apr 3, 2013

        Kevin- I mean, really, how could anyone imagine a Civil War historian reality TV show WITHOUT Ed Bearss?

  • Mike Rogers Apr 3, 2013

    Ken Burns would be handling the hidden camera, right?

  • Woodrowfan Apr 3, 2013

    Zombie Shelby Foote??

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