Homeland Security USA reality show “unprecedented” access

In early January, ABC will debut Homeland Security USA, a 13-episode unscripted series that is based on an Australian show and is produced in the US by producer Arnold Shapiro. He previously created the documentary Scared Straight, but is now probably trying to repair his reputation after being associated with that crapass CBS show Big Brother for five seasons before he left.

In a press release, ABC says “the series takes cameras into situations never before seen on television, with each episode covering eight or more locations on the ‘front lines’ where the officers and agents work each day.” The network calls the access “unprecedented” and said the stars “aren’t heroes. They’re average men and women working against an epic landscape.”

The show debuts Jan. 6 and airs Tuesdays at 8. The first episode, “This is Your Car on Drugs,” includes segments about drug smugglers and undocumented immigrants lost in the desert, plus a segment at LAX where, ABC says, “a voluptuous 20-year-old woman arrives from Switzerland with no working papers but a suitcase full of titillating surprises!”

Maybe Shapiro hasn’t moved far away from Big Brother after all.

ABC’s New Series, “Homeland Security USA,” Premieres… [ABC 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.