Fantasia Barrino’s Lifetime movie debuts Saturday

American Idol 3 winner Fantasia Barrino’s life story becomes a made-for-TV movie starting tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime. (It also airs Sunday at 8 and Monday at 9.) The movie has already generated controversy, in particular with its accusation that Idol producers asked Fantasia to quit the show.

The film is based upon the book of the same name, which Fantasia wrote, and Fantasia also stars and sings in the movie, which is directed by Debbie Allen. Unfortunately, those who’ve seen the film seem to think all of that was a terrible idea.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Richmond says that Fantasia just “can’t act. She’s very sweet and all, but she tends to gobble her words and expresses range by lowering her eyes, as if the answer to life lay somewhere at her feet.” He adds that “the capacity to convey a certain depth of emotion on cue would seem to be a minimum prerequisite,” but Fantasia “obviously tries hard but can’t pull it off, no matter how much director Debbie Allen tries to drill it into her.”

The New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan writes that the film is “a blandly shot, after-school-style parable about redemption that has none of the grit and texture of Fantasia’s voice or persona.” And The Mercury News’ Charlie McCollum agrees that “the execution is so dreadful that it’s hard to imagine anyone other than the members of Barrino’s fan club getting past the first 15 minutes.”

The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not A Fairy Tale [Lifetime]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.