CMT’s Popularity Contest debuts, Sundance’s Staircase continues tonight.

CMT’s Popularity Contest debuts, Sundance’s Staircase continues tonight.

CMT debuts its original reality series Popularity Contest tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET, repeating it Tuesday at 8 and Wednesday at 6. The series watches as “10 city slickers chuck the bright lights and the big city to immerse themselves in small town life as they compete to be named the town’s ‘most popular’ resident.”

They’ll move to Vega, Texas, for a month, competing in community service-oriented challenges and will be eliminated one by one by the residents. One will with $100,000, and that person will award a cash prize to the local resident he or she likes the best.

Meanwhile, the Sundance Channel’s four-week, eight chapter documentary series The Staircase continues tonight at 9 p.m. ET. (The first two chapters reair Friday at 8, followed by chapters 3 and 4.) Produced by Oscar-winning director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the show “chronicles the sensational story of North Carolina author Michael Peterson, who stood trial in 2003 for the murder of his wife.” As Sundance says, the filmmakers had “unusual access to Peterson’s lawyers and his immediate family.”

Salon’s Heather Havrilesky calls the series “unforgettable” and says it’s an “engrossing and ultimately tragic story,” while The AP’s critic said it “is one of the best TV programs I have ever seen.”

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.

Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.