American Idol debuts tonight.

American Idol debuts tonight.
FOX debuts American Idol tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET with a 90-minute episode; the second half of the premiere airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET. The show will continue through Sept. 4, airing two episodes a week, with the audience voting via 900-number after every Wednesday live show for who they want to see continue. The show is the U.S. version of Pop Idol, the UK’s sequel to Popstars which became a huge hit. More than 8.5 million people voted in the UK finals, ultimately selecting Will Young as the winner. Will, who came out shortly after winning, had two number one hits, and his first single became the fastest-selling single in UK history. The US show is hosted by Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest, and will be judged by Paula Abudl, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell. Simon became well-known for his snipes at the contestants and earned the nickname “Mr. Nasty.” He’s had to hire bodyguards in the US because he’s been at least twice physically threatened by American Idol losers. News and comment about the show:

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.