A new reality descends upon prime-time television - and folks, it isn't pretty.

The CW's

Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants

, a competition show about snippy, sniping mother-daughter beauty queens, is the first in an onslaught of nonscripted programs to hit the networks' schedule since the Hollywood writers' strike began.

The real impact of the strike, now in its second month and with no end in sight, will be felt early next year when such scripted shows as



Grey's Anatomy


30 Rock

do not return after the holidays. In their place will be such reality fare as

American Gladiators


The Baby Borrowers

, and

When Women Rule the World




is any indicator, viewers are in for a thoroughly depressing 2008.


features 11 mother-daughter teams that each week sing, dance and prance pageant-style in front of a three-panel judge in hopes of outlasting the competition and taking home a $100,000 prize. Each week, a losing duo is kicked off the show, or "de-sashed."

Following a reality-show cliche, the ladies all live in the same mansion, dubbed the "Pageant Palace," where they coexist uncomfortably with one another, shooting nasty looks and whispering put-downs. "I don't think they are very pretty," Laura tells daughter Patty about another team in the premiere episode, slated to air last night.

The duos each fill a stereotype that producers likely planned before choosing the cast. Amanda and Andrea are the sexy snobs ("I don't need to make friends," Amanda sniffs), Gina and Hollis are the all-American sweet girls (they make dinner for everyone the first night), and Brenda and Heather are the blond bombshells (Brenda: "Two's better than one, we're double the fun").

There's something a little creepy about these family units. These mothers, in their 40s and 50s, admire their offspring to the point of worship yet also seem envious of them, doing everything medically possible to look like their daughters.

Former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, no stranger to reality TV as the costar of MTV's

Meet the Barkers

, is the bland blond host who reminds us more than once about her beauty-pageant past.

The judges are obscure TV personality Cynthia Garrett and former

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

star Carson Kressley, who continues to milk the snarky persona he developed on that popular Bravo show.

At least he adds a little fun to the proceedings, appropriately mocking the truly awful opening performances of the premiere.

But there's no other reason to tune in to this pointless, mean-spirited, and just plain dull show. The good news is that it lasts only eight weeks. The bad news is it will be replaced by another strike-induced reality show:

Farmer Wants a Wife


Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants

moves into its regular time slot on the CW Wednesday night at 8.