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.”

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.