Shaq’s Big Challenge debuts on ABC tonight

Shaquille O’Neal helps kids lose weight on ABC’s new six-episode reality series Shaq’s Big Challenge, which debuts tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

Of the six kids, ages 11 to 14, five weigh more than 200 pounds; the other weighs 182. When TV Guide asked how the kids were chosen, Shaq helpfully explains that “we looked for kids who were obese.” For a weight loss show? Really?

In addition to helping them with their diets and exercise, Shaq “swaggers around with the kids, giving them street credibility and making them bully-proof,” The New York Times reports. “Watching this charming hero-giant, who has six children of his own, counsel boys and girls is a novelty on television.”

Shaq’s Big Challenge [ABC]
Shaq Attacks a Most Dangerous Epidemic Facing Kids [TV Guide]
Lighten Up, Overeaters. This 7-Foot Giant Is in Touch With His Inner Child. [New York Times]

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.