Greatest American Dog debuts tonight

The summer’s second dog-themed reality competition debuts tonight as CBS kicks off Greatest American Dog at 8 p.m. ET (the first was the cheap, metaphor-heavy yet oddly watchable Animal Planet series Groomer Has It). On the show, “teams of dogs and owners from across the nation … will live together and compete against each other in challenges that put the owners’ ability to train their dogs to the test,” and they’ll be eliminated weekly by judges. The last team gets $250,000, as CBS gets even cheaper with its prizes.

The show is judged by Wendy Diamond, Allan Reznik, and Victoria Stilwell, and hosted by Jarod Miller, all of whom have one thing in common: you’ve probably never heard of them before. It’s produced by RJ Cutler, who usually produces classier, more meaningful, documentary-like shows such as American High and Black. White..

CBS is promoting the new series with supermarket displays that bark at you, dog walkers hired to walk around with advertisements for the show on them, and branded hot dog stands, according to a press release.

Here’s a preview of the show, one that emphasizes the conflict between the dogs and people over the actual challenges, which gives us an idea where the show’s going:

Greatest American Dog [CBS]
CBS is Going to the Dogs This Summer… [CBS press release]

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.