December of 2014 saw the unveiling of the first ever reality musical TV show, Branson Famous, starring The Baldknobbers of Branson.
The reality show revolves around the lives of the Mabe family, Branson’s very first family of entertainers, as they struggle to make their 56-year-old show more relevant to today’s younger generation.
Branson Famous takes viewers behind the stage of the The Baldknobbers Jamboree to watch the the real-life family drama unfold as vocalist Brandon Mabe (the son of Tim and Patty Mabe) and his fiancé Megan McCombs attempt to revitalize the production, while flirting with the idea of taking control of the show.
The plot unfolds as the decision to hire a new vocalist, Heather Gentry, lights the fire of controversy between members of the family. As the Mabes move forward with training their new cast member, it’s suggested that Megan fears that this new “sexy singer” will get a little too close to her fiancé, which in turn, drives a wedge between the two vocalists.
On top of it all, there’s poor Breezy, the only Baldknobber not on the stage. We watch as she fights to earn her place alongside her family members and even goes as far as getting breast augmentation surgery to fit the bill.
All this and more (even singing confessionals!) was featured in season one of Branson Famous on truTV.
Reaction to the show has varied. Some regular Branson patrons refuse to go see the The Baldknobbers Jamboree anymore because they say Branson Famous has damaged the reputation of Branson’s family-centered community.
One such Facebook user commented on the Branson Famous page with, “I’m really afraid you all may alienate your most loyal (albeit again) fans with this show. It’s going to be difficult to sell your family show when everybody knows your (dramatized for TV) business. People may prefer the fairy tale.”
Others say the reality show has piqued their interest in the Missouri tourist town.
“Because of this show, I’m looking forward to one day visiting Branson and seeing the Jamboree live. I’m hoping for a second season!” one Facebook fan said.
Brandon Mabe said he jumped at the chance to do the reality show because he saw it as a great opportunity for the family and for Branson in general. He says overall, any reaction from the public has been good because it puts Branson in the spotlight and keeps people talking.
“It’s been great,” he said. “It’s brought in a lot of new fans, which has been absolutely wonderful for us because, of course, the whole goal of this is to draw new attention to Branson and hopefully a new generation.”
“It was just an exciting opportunity to show the world the backstage life of a family entertainment business and kind of bring in people to the part of a show that you don’t see,” Megan McCombs explained.
The newly engaged couple told us that contrary to what many viewers might assume, the reality show has actually made the Mabe family stronger.
“It’s been a learning experience,” Megan said. “I think it’s been therapeutic for us in ways, because, as a family, we’ve been able to kind of dish it out with each other and then put things behind us and move forward.”
The Baldknobbers went international with the April 9 premiere of Branson Famous in the UK, and the Mabe family is waiting to hear back about the possibility of a second season.
What do you think about Branson Famous? Would you recommend it to friends and family? Let us know what you think!
Still haven’t seen the show yet? Watch the first full season here.