VH1’s Mission: Man Band, ABC’s Fat March debut tonight

Tonight, VH1 formers a new boy band from members of old boy bands, and ABC forces fat people to walk across part of the country.

At 9 p.m. ET, ABC debuts Fat March, follows 12 people who “walk over 570 miles, passing through nine states, with the goal of shedding unwanted pounds and getting fit along the way in an attempt to permanently alter their lives. In addition, they all will compete for a prize pool of $1.2 million,” ABC says. They walk and camp along the way from Boston to Washington, D.C. One contestant, Chantal, told the Boston Herald, “‘The Biggest Loser’ is a joke compared to what we went through. When I found out I was camping, I was horrified and shocked.”

United Features’ Kevin McDpnough says the show is “gluttonous when it comes to devouring pieces of other shows,” and producers “add one reality ingredient too many and mess up the one-step-at-a-time uplift with contrived stunts that pit marchers against one another.”

On cable, VH1’s seven-episode Mission: Man Band debuts at 10 p.m., and follows ‘N Sync’s Chris Kirkpatrick, 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons, LFO’s Rich Cronin, Color Me Badd’s Bryan Abrams, who “will live together for one month, create new music, a dynamic stage show and perform as a new pop group,” according to the network.

Chris Kirkpatrick tells the Orlando Sentinel, “They wanted this lighthearted look: Where are they? How fat are they? They wanted the Surreal Life with boy bands. But they got some real compelling stuff that you go, ‘Wow!’ I think people will see that we’re normal guys who had crazy stuff happen to us.”

That “crazy stuff” includes Cronin’s leukemia, Kirkpatrick’s alcoholism, Abrams’ weight gain, and Timmons’ anxiety, The Boston Herald’s Mark A. Perigard says, arguing that “one has to sympathize with men who are looking for a purpose and learning that those who once craved their attention can no longer be bothered.”

Fat March [ABC]
Mission: Man Band [VH1]

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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.