American Idol 3 debuts tonight, kicking off 40 hours of Idol before May finale.

American Idol 3 debuts tonight, kicking off 40 hours of Idol before May finale.
The three-night American Idol 3 finale begins tonight. The show airs for an hour tonight, Tuesday night (immediately before the state of the union address), and Wednesday night. Next week it airs Tuesday and Wednesday at 8, before ultimately settling into an 8 p.m. time slot on Tuesday and 8:30 p.m. slot on Wednesday. All-in-all, before the finale airs in May (well over three months away), FOX will air 40 hours of American Idol. Maybe because of that, FOX’s Gail Berman lowers expectations: “We don’t anticipate that it will start at the same level it did last year,” he said. “We’re rolling it out a little differently this year. But we do need the engine that show will provide, and we’re looking forward to it coming back,” according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. If you just can’t wait until tonight to hear Simon insult people who pretend to know how to sing to get insulted on national television, you can watch clips from the New York, Atlanta, and Houston auditions.

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.