News & Politics

Reality TV Fans in DC Are About to Have a Good Year

From "The Golden Bachelorette" to "The Traitors," locals are appearing on our favorite reality shows.

Photograph of Jon Lovett by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media. Photograph of Robyn Dixon by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for iHeartRadio. Photograph of Joan Vassos by Ricky Middlesworth/ABC.

Reality TV enthusiasts can’t resist the alluring call of a good confessional scene, but this year there’s an additional reason to tune into unscripted shows: You might see a local on screen.

Call it the year Washington gets real.

Yesterday, The Traitors, an elaborate game of Mafia played by a grab-bag of reality stars, released the cast for its third season. (In January, Peacock touted that Season 2 was the most-watched unscripted streaming series of all time.) Former Real Housewife of Potomac Robyn Dixon has joined the competition show hosted by Alan Cumming, appearing alongside reality heavy-hitters Chrishell Stause (Selling Sunset), Danielle Reyes (Big Brother), Dorinda Medley (Real Housewives of New York), and Tom Sandoval (Vanderpump Rules), notorious for “Scandoval,” one of the most prolific televised cheating scandals of our day. Dixon is an original cast member on the local Housewives franchise, but she was not asked back to the show after the most recent season ended. A release date for The Traitors Season 3 has yet to be announced.


While Dixon competes to keep her spot in a Scottish castle, another person with ties to DC will be fighting their way through a Fijian island. Though Jon Lovett is no longer based here, we’re claiming the former Obama speechwriter and Pod Save America host under the DC umbrella. After surviving political Washington, he’s putting his prowess to the test on the 47th season of Survivor.

In recent years, we’ve seen more reality TV/White House crossovers from the Republican side of the aisle: Former Trump adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman made appearances on Celebrity Big Brother and House of Villains, Sean Spicer went from press secretary to neon green shirt on Dancing with the Stars, and of course, Donald Trump himself. Lovett, an outspoken Democrat, is a shift from the Trump-era personalities that tend to grace our reality screens. We’re curious to see if Lovett’s political know-how will be mined for strategic game play—after all, the podcaster has been upfront that he’s limited as an outdoorsman: “I have no outdoor skills. What am I doing here? I went camping as a cub scout. I threw up and went home,” Lovett says in the show’s trailer. Expect a September premiere date for his Survivor debut on CBS. 


But perhaps the coup of the year is the inaugural season of The Golden Bachelorette, in which Rockville resident Joan Vassos will be handing out roses to senior suitors. The 61 year old, who works in alumni relations at Bethesda’s Landon School, was a contestant on The Golden Bachelor last year, self-eliminating early on to be with her postpartum daughter. A fixture of the show is a visit to the lead’s hometown in the final episodes, which means cameras are likely coming to Montgomery County. Following her departure from Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner’s season, the University of Maryland alum told Moco 360 that her go-to spots around town are Stanford Grill, Mykonos Grill, and Brooklyn Deli, where there’s even a sandwich called the Vassos. Could we see our newest golden couple canoodling over pastrami sandwiches at a Rockville institution? We’ll get our answer this fall.


The biggest question for reality watchers is the release of Love Is Blind Season 7, featuring singles from Washington dating in the pods before getting engaged sight unseen. Last year, DCist reported that the show’s notorious golden goblets were spotted at Urban Roast with a film crew. Seasons of the Netflix show have typically premiered in February or March and September or October, so we’re predicting a drop on Netflix this fall. A Vulture story on the upcoming season confirms that politics will—predictably—play a role on the DC season, with one contestant calling himself “a patriot” and another bringing up his Ben Shapiro impersonation.

It’s shaping up to be a fun 2024 for local reality TV shows fans. At the very least, it’s a welcome distraction from this year’s other reality drama, a spectacle with far more consequences: the election.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.