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‘Bobby Brown’ reality can be boring

Kevin McDonough United Feature Syndicate

The celebrity reality trend that began with “The Osbournes” and “Newlyweds” is now deader than vaudeville. Evidence of its rigor mortis can be found in the ratings reports for NBC’s “I Want to Be a Hilton.”

Further proof of its expiration can be seen on “Being Bobby Brown” (10 p.m., Bravo), debuting tonight.

For the uninitiated (or for those who just never cared), Bobby Brown was a member of the hugely popular boy band New Edition who went on to a highly successful solo career. His fame only increased when he married diva Whitney Houston in 1992.

But as pop life must imitate “True Hollywood Story,” Brown’s personal and marital history has been scandal-plagued, and he has appeared before a sentencing judge more often than he has before a Grammy Awards audience

“Bobby” begins as Brown finishes a 30-day jail sentence for failure to make support payments to a previous wife. He travels to a posh Atlanta hotel to catch up with Houston.

One would think that a moment like that would call for privacy, but in the life of a celebrity the needs of a documentary camera crew trump even the most natural urges.

While the Osbournes and the Lachey-Simpsons developed an easy rapport with the camera and at least projected an air of naturalism, the Brown-Houston household appears to be continually aware of the intruding lenses. The results are both phony and oppressive and frequently dull.

Bobby narrates for what seems like five minutes as he prepares for his private time with Whitney. The Brown family travels to a Bahamas resort, where Whitney complains of stalking fans continually interrupting the fun.

You could almost feel sorry for her if she and Brown weren’t being followed by their own camera crew.

The patter between husband and wife superstars seems at once forced and bizarre.

Whitney lectures friends about the virtues of high-colonic therapy while dining at a fancy restaurant. Bobby responds with scatological observations not fit for a daily newspaper (never mind the dinner table).

“The Osbournes” seemed funny and at times even charming in its depiction of a rocker with an outrageous reputation trying to live a normal life.

In contrast, “Being Bobby Brown” captures the banality that results from continually outrageous behavior.

Other highlights

Scheduled on “Nightly Business Report” (5:30 p.m., KSPS): an interview with Yang Yuanqing, the chairman of Lenovo, a Chinese computer company that recently purchased IBM’s PC division for $1.75 billion.

Tommy Hilfiger hosts “The Cut” (8 p.m., CBS).

The voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen animate the 1995 Pixar fantasy “Toy Story” (8 p.m., ABC).

Sandy appears to be AWOL on “The O.C.” (9 p.m., Fox).

A hunter and its prey are found equally dead on “CSI” (9 p.m., CBS).

Vernon Kay hosts “Hit Me Baby One More Time” (9 p.m., NBC).

A postal worker doesn’t finish his appointed rounds on “Without a Trace” (10 p.m., CBS).

Scheduled on “Primetime” (10 p.m., ABC): a man who developed a talent for musical composition after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Convicted of rape, a 23-year-old man may be saved by long-ignored evidence on “Stories of the Innocence Project” (10 p.m., Court).

Cult choice

A widower (Bing Crosby) goes to college and interacts with the teen set (including Fabian and Tuesday Weld) in the 1960 comedy “High Time” (5 p.m., Fox Movie Channel), directed by Blake Edwards.

Series notes

A shifty stranger (Alec Baldwin) hires Will on a one-hour “Will & Grace” (8 p.m., NBC) … On back-to-back episodes of “That ‘70s Show” (Fox,), a holiday letdown (8 p.m.), and Kelso woos Hyde’s sister (8:30 p.m.) … Wrestling on “WWE SmackDown!” (8 p.m., UPN).

On back-to-back episodes of “Blue Collar TV” (WB), the Man (8 p.m.), and boys and toys (8:30 p.m.).

Roughing it on “Beauty and the Geek” (9 p.m., WB).

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