America’s Choice begins on Thursday

One of the most idiotic–but still potentially amusing–elements of Big Brother returns Thursday. That’s when Julie Chen will read a card with the first America’s Choice question of the year. If you blacked out after last year, America’s Choice allows the audience to make a (generally inconsequential) choice for the houseguests.

This year, voting will occur online and via text messaging votes, according to a press release CBS sent out today. Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, said in the release, “Text messaging will bring the ‘Big Brother’ experience to living rooms across America, allowing even greater participation from the viewing public. It’s an organic extension of the ‘Big Brother’ phenomenon, and it will be incorporated seamlessly into the show.”

Sweet! Oh, wait, he said organic, not orgasmic, which would have been a lot more fun.

Hopefully, we’ll get exciting questions this year, such as, “Which houseguest should be pushed down the stairs?” or “Should we lace the peanut butter with laxatives or speed?”

Big Brother 6 Goes Wireless [CBS press release]

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.