USA debuts The Great American Christmas reality movie tonight

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET, USA debuts a reality TV movie titled The Great American Christmas. It also airs Wednesday at 4, Dec. 2 at 4, and Dec. 3 at 9.

The film follows six couples/families, who were “each picked for their distinctive and interesting takes on celebrating Christmas,” USA says. Howie Mandel narrates and “examines our nation’s biggest holiday.”

It’s not so much a documentary as it is an “unscripted movie.” And if the premise sounds boring, the executive producers are Gary Auerbach and Julie Auerbach, who executive produced Rollergirls and Laguna Beach.

The stories, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, include “a Los Angeles ex-con trying to get straight with his family; a Chicago mother staging a big family reunion; a gay man hoping to reconcile with his conservative Midwestern relations; the Schullers of the Orange County Crystal Cathedral; a New Yorker trucking his goods cross-country to move closer to his Los Angeles girlfriend; and a speed-skater trying out for the U.S. Winter Olympics team.”

The Great American Christmas [USA Network]

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.