Bravo’s Sports Kids Moms & Dads, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and The WB’s Beauty and the Geek all debut tonight

Summer reality TV really gets started tonight as three new series kick off. The one that’s been gaining the most critical buzz, surprisingly enough, is Ashton Kutcher’s Beauty and the Geek. Its premise sounds rather heinous–“seven women who are academically impaired” and “seven men who are brilliant but socially challenged” pair up and each “pair competes in various activities designed to test intellect, fashion savvy and even dance moves.” But USA TODAY says “Beauty is sweet, funny and virtually humiliation free,” while The Boston Globe notes that it “is meant to improve its players’ lives, while delivering a little morality play for viewers.” The show debuts at 8 p.m. ET on The WB.

Bravo’s compelling portraits of obsessive parents trying to live vicariously through their children continue tonight with Sports Kids Moms & Dads. Child abuse moves onto the field and into the gymnasium at 10 p.m. ET. Five families will be followed, including a dad named Craig who says this about his eight-year-old son: “His future and my future are tied to his dream of being an NFL football player.” Sad, really. For the first time, Bravo will put exclusive “webisodes” online, segments that show a sixth family that won’t be included in the broadcast version. A Bravo press release suggests that this family is a little different: “Sonja is a 15-year-old soccer player who is learning what it takes to be a serious, dedicated and successful athlete. Sonja’s mother, Mandy, knows her daughter has amazing potential, so she works two jobs to subsidize her year-round participation in the sport and her step-dad coaches her despite being plagued with MS.” The eight webisodes also debut today.

Finally, ABC gets celebrities to embarrass themselves while ballroom dancing. This is definitely a step up from the network’s earlier UK import I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here, but considering that one of the celebrities is The Bachelorette Trista Sutter, well, it’s still ABC. The stars and their dancing partners compete live starting tonight at 9 p.m. ET; audience votes will eliminate couples one by one.

Beauty and the Geek [The WB]
Sports Kids Moms & Dads [Bravo]
For the first time ever, Bravo streams exclusive webisodes on bravotv.com [NBCUMv]
Dancing with the Stars [ABC]

The Sing-Off loses its star

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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.

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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.