Survivor Panama debuts tonight

Survivor returns to some very familiar islands tonight when Survivor Panama debuts on CBS at 8 p.m. ET.

Although we’ve seen the exact same locations in two previous editions of the show, the game has changed for this season. Besides the initial tribal split, which for the first time divides the castaways into four groups of four, there’s also Exile Island, where one person will be banished each week. But on that island, they’ll be able to hunt for an immunity idol, which will give the idol holder crazy amounts of power. Together, those two twists have the potential to really change the game for the first time in its 12-season history.

Although the show has aired 11 seasons in less than six years, its still the most popular reality show besides American Idol. The Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan asks a bunch of people, “Why do we still watch ‘Survivor’?” Executive producer Tom Shelly says its because producers “are really letting people tell their own stories. They’re in charge of their own fate. … Watching real people under pressure, I believe, is fascinating to us. We can all identify with that.”

Survivor Panama: Exile Island [CBS]

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.