Online Series Plugged In Mixes Celebrities, Civilans and Electric Cars

Watch as celebrity like Alicia Silverstone and Rocco DiSpirito tutor contestants as they compete for a shot at a Ford Focus Electric

A few of the celebrities invovled in Plugged In (from left to right): India Arie, Alicia Silverstone, Rocco DiSpirito and David Arquette

Celebrities team up with civilians in this environmentally friendly reality challenge

While comedies and dramas have proliferated in the web-series world, the same can’t really be said for reality programming. Is it because that particular genre remains as strong as ever in the realm of terrestrial broadcasting? Very possibly.

It’s certainly easy enough to imagine creative types rationalizing, “Why should I take my series online when I can follow in the footsteps of such cable superstars as Cash Cab and Keeping Up With the Kardashians?”

Slowly but surely, however, big-time advertisers have begun to discover how easy it is to combine a product plug with reality programming. Take, for instance, Yahoo’s new reality-competition series, Plugged In, which takes place in 10 cities around the U.S. and pits three two-person teams in each city against each other in various challenges, with the winners from the various cities meeting in Los Angeles to see which team wins a Ford Focus Electric for each of its members.

Celebrities Show up for Plugged In

Not surprisingly, the series is sponsored by Ford, but the concept would be an entertaining one no matter what company was footing the bill. The gimmick is that each of the cities is the hometown of a particular celebrity who serves as the “ambassador,” if you will, as the contestants take on challenges that involve exploring the hot spots and hidden secrets of that week’s locale.

While some reality series tend to fall back on grade-C celebrities, the “green” element of Plugged In has resulted in some decidedly recognizable names, including Adrian Grenier (Entourage) in New York, chef Rocco DiSpirito in Boston, and singer India Arie in Seattle, while San Francisco is represented by Alicia Silverstone, and Los Angeles by David Arquette. If only for the star power, it sounds like Plugged In will at least be worth taking for a test drive.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.