ABC’s celebrity impersonator series The Next Best Thing debuts tonight

ABC again rolls out its summer reality TV strategy of creating derivatives of other reality series, debuting The Next Best Thing tonight at 8 p.m. ET. The network originally planned a two-hour debut for tonight, but now the show is just one hour.

The series is a talent competition that will search for a celebrity impersonator. Jeffrey Ross and two others (Lisa Ann Walter and Elon Gold) judge and narrow a group of celebrity interpreters; ABC says they “will use their razor sharp wit and comedic skills as they evaluate, critique and sometimes skewer celebrity impersonators based on how much they look, sound and act like the celebrity they’re impersonating.” Viewers will eventually vote for one to win $100,000.

The show is produced by Peter Engel and Barry Katz, who also produce Last Comic Standing, and ABC’s trailer for the show makes it look like the NBC show’s sibling.

Next Best Thing [ABC]

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.