Biggest Loser 7, Homeland Security USA debut

The seventh season of The Biggest Loser kicks off tonight, as does a brand-new ABC reality series that follows people who work in the Department of Homeland Security.

ABC’s Homeland Security USA is from Arnold Shapiro, who most recently produced Big Brother until he quit. The network says the series gives “an unprecedented look at the work of these men and women while they use the newest technology to safeguard our country and enforce our laws.”

Unsurprisingly, it’s not exactly a documentary about law enforcement. The New York Times calls the new series “an exclusive, inside look at a recruitment video” and “a powerful ego boost for insecure civil servants” that “doesn’t reveal much about the homeland’s actual security.”

Also at 8, NBC debuts The Biggest Loser 7, the show’s second couples season, meaning everyone is paired with someone they know (cough, Amazing Race rip-off, cough). Like last season, will air bloated two-hour episodes every week.

The new cast is the fattest ever: They weight more than 3.5 tons, and includes the heaviest female ever (she weighs 379 pounds) and the biggest contestant ever (he weighs 454 pounds).

That’s less shocking than a line in the cast announcement press release that says the series’ now-extensive product line “has generated over $50 million in spending.” As if the relentless and often-insulting product placement wasn’t enough, it’s obvious the show’s focus is on using weight loss to make money and fill time for NBC.

The Biggest Loser [NBC]
Homeland Security U.S.A. [ABC]

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.