Gene Simmons Family Jewels debuts tonight on A&E

Gene Simmons Family Jewels, the next fly-on-a-wall celebrity series, debuts tonight on A&E at 10 p.m. ET. Back-to-back episodes air tonight and next week.

The show follows the Kiss frontman and his partner (not wife) Shannon Tweed, and their two kids, Nick and Sophie. A&E says the show “will reveal the side of Gene that he has kept hidden until now, and shows how the most non-traditional, traditional family in America manages to make it work under the oddest of circumstances.” But Simmons doesn’t deny that he’s doing this for the exposure. “I saw it as an opportunity to shill, where I could push what I’ve been involved in, to take advantage of the synergies,” he tells USA TODAY.

The New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan argues that this show is a direct descendant of The Osbournes, but says “Gene Simmons is no Ozzy Osbourne” because he “entirely lacks the doddering charisma of the less substance-averse Mr. Osbourne” and “struts, preens and schemes, endeavoring to direct the highly contrived action of the show.” But she says the show is saved by the kids, who “are amused and skeptical in spades, and this attitude makes them both the conscience and the charm of” the series.

Variety’s Brian Lowry is much more blunt: he says the show is “a flat-out bore — and a little depressing frankly, to see the KISS renegade opening a Hooters in Vegas.”

Gene Simmons Family Jewels [A&E]
For Simmons, ‘Family Jewels’ are his kids, partner [USA TODAY]

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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.