Missy Elliott’s Road to Stardom, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search debut.

Missy Elliott’s Road to Stardom, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search debut.
A month of new and returning reality show debuts begins tonight, as UPN kicks off The Road to Stardom and NBC airs the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search. UPN’s new “dramality” series stars and is produced by Missy Elliott; on it, “13 aspiring performers head out coast-to-coast with Grammy Award-winning artist Missy Elliott on one of her concert tours, where some of these select male and female vocalists will travel, live together on the tour bus and compete against each other for $100,000 and the opportunity to become music’s next big sensation.” One performer will be eliminated each week. Thus, despite UPN’s attempt to create a new word (“dramality”) to describe the series, we basically have ((Road Rules + Battle for Ozzfest) x American Idol) ÷ Bands on the Run. The show debuts at 8 p.m. ET.

At the same time, NBC baits the FCC with a new competition series, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search. It features women working selflessly to improve the world around them by performing random acts of kindness. Oh, I kid: They’ll just be in bathing suits all the time. Over six Top Model-like episodes, “[t]welve selected finalists will live in Los Angeles where they will compete for the chance to appear in the best selling issue of any magazine in the world and win a million-dollar modeling contract from NEXT Model Management.”

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.