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.”

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

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In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.