The Amazing Race 5 debuts tonight.

The Amazing Race 5 debuts tonight.
The fifth trip around the world begins airing tonight as CBS debuts The Amazing Race 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET; the show also repeats at 8 on Saturdays. The hour-and-a-half episode begins in LA at the Santa Monica Pier. By the end of the episode, one of the 11 teams will find host Phil Keoghan standing on a mat, making a frowny face and telling them that they’ve both been eliminated from the race. Last year, the show won an Emmy, and most of the reviews this year are superlative: For example, the Orlando Sentinel’s Hal Boedeker says the show “moves so swiftly and tosses out so many challenges that it’s the rare reality show that deserves to be replayed and studied. The intense style rules out channel-surfing.” The New York Daily News’ David Bianculli writes that it “hits the ground running at a pace that never lets up.” One journalist, though, isn’t convinced; the Salt Lake City Tribune’s Vince Horiuchi fans ask Phil, “Will you Philiminiate me?”

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.