Crowned: The Mother of All Beauty Pageants debuts tonight

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET, after Tyra crowns the ninth Top Model, The CW will debut Crowned, an eight-episode competition between pairs of mothers and their wannabe beauty pageant queen daughters.

Queer Eye‘s Carson Kressley, Dancing with the Stars‘ Shanna Moakler, and Cynthia Garrett will judge the competition, which features the women participating in “challenges that focus on preparing them for the pageant show finale,” according to the network. Pageant director Linnea Maloney serves as their guide, and the winning team receives $100,000.

The series has some critics freaking out, especially with the writers’ strike likely to lead to more reality television shows like this one. Los Angeles Times’ Mary McNamara begs for an end to the strike because “as a television consumer and a human being, the center will not hold. Reality TV is no longer an option. The genre has officially hit the seventh level of hell.” She says “there is some satisfaction in watching the mean girls’ faces freeze when they realize the judges aren’t overwhelmed, but even in that satisfaction lurks shame.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Karla Peterson says the “contestants are the usual collection of dim bulbs, competitive psychos, medical sob stories and overconfident windbags. But there are also a few lovable underdogs who have no business being there. Unfortunately, tonight’s debut episode is so obviously rooting for these outsiders, it kind of takes the fun out of doing it yourself.” The Mercury News’ Chuck Barney writes that this is “the most unintentionally laughable reality show to come down the pipe in a long time” because it is “[f]ormulaic and cringe-inducing.” And The Washington Post’s John Maynard argues that besides Carson’s cut-downs, “there’s no other reason to tune in to this pointless, mean-spirited and just plain dull show.”

Crowned [The CW]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.