Contender debut watched by 8.4 million, and is easily beaten by CBS comedy, CSI.

Contender debut watched by 8.4 million, and is easily beaten by CBS comedy, CSI.
NBC’s The Contender got its ass kicked by both Charlie Sheen and CSI: Miami on Monday night. The debut episode of NBC’s boxing series was watched by 8.4 million, less than half of the number who watched Two and a Half Men (17.45 million) and CSI: Miami (21.68 million). Zap2it.com calls this “disappointing, but not disastrous,” while Mediaweek refers to it as a “modest start.” The series continues Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET, and then moves into its regular time slot at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday night–opposite ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and The Simpsons. On Monday’s episode, undefeated boxer and third-ranked Peter Manfredo Jr. was beaten by Alfonso Gomez. Why do the show? Manfredo tells the Providence Journal, “Sure, I was going for the million. But I was also taking the opportunity to get the exposure, for people to know me outside of New England.” Mark Burnett says we can expect more unexpected match-ups. “This is the first time I saw people deliberately take the toughest way. … They never chose someone they thought they could beat. Invariably they would chose the toughest fights. These are unbelievably proud men. They’d rather lose than take the easy fight,” he said.
+ also: “‘The Contender’ is compulsively watchable, and largely because the stakes for its competitors … are so incredibly high.”

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.