Survivor Gabon debuts tonight

Survivor‘s first-ever HD season debuts tonight at 8 p.m. ET with the show’s first-ever two-hour premiere, although they are two back-to-back episodes, so not really one long, extra-special episode. The show will face tough competition, particularly in its second hour, when it faces off against the season premieres of The Office and Grey’s Anatomy, in addition to a special episode of Kitchen Nightmares.

With its subtitle “Earth’s Last Eden,” this season of Survivor will highlight temptation and perhaps even good versus evil. Exile Island has been replaced by Exile, and those who go there will be forced to choose between luxury and finding the hidden immunity idol.

Speaking of Eden, as I learned this summer while in Africa, Survivor Gabon actually plays a role in Gabon’s future. The country needs visibility as it grows its eco-tourism economy, which is necessary because its president recently protected more than 10 percent of the country. Many Gabonese don’t understand that, especially because it involved eliminating some forestry concessions and they need jobs.

The episode will start with the 18 cast members organizing themselves into tribes, Kota and Fang (pronounced “fong”). Based upon my initial interviews with them alone, as they sorted themselves out, I immediately wrote in my notebook “loser tribe” for one of them. By the way, producers let the small press contingent run the first immunity challenge during its rehearsal, and we faced off against members of the Dream Team. I’ll let you know how that went tomorrow.

‘Survivor: Gabon’ throws temptations at cast and ‘Survivor’ will shine spotlight on pristine Gabon [MSNBC]

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.