The year in reality TV, 2007

Despite all the predictions–or hopes–about its eventual downfall, reality TV is finishing its seventh year as a staple on network prime-time television. On cable, many networks have all but given their entire schedules over to unscripted programming. The quality of these shows ranges as much as their popularity, but nearly all of them offered something to talk about in 2007.

From Sanjaya and that bawling little girl to Charla’s triumphant return to The Amazing Race, there were plenty of noteworthy moments, whether they were shocking, awe-inspiring, or just weird. But beyond that Best Week Ever bait, some highlights and lowlights showed up repeatedly, often in different shows on different networks.

Here are those trends that I noticed in reality television this past year. Have a terrific rest of your 2007, and I’ll be back in 2008, ready for a writers’ strike-saturated market full of material for next year’s year-end lists.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.