Survivor’s episode tonight is not “all-new”

CBS’ ads for tonight’s special Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET episode have been calling it an “all-new episode,” which is disingenuous at best. It’s just the mid-season recap that CBS typically airs during March Madness (spring) or Thanksgiving (fall), but since the show is essentially off the air for three weeks, it’s understandable why they want us to tune in–especially since Survivor Tocantins hasn’t quite found a groove yet.

Still, it’s a clip show. Because of the misleading ads, I even called CBS to triple-check. A press release describe that “Jeff Probst highlights new scenes and never-before-seen footage,” and “an intimate look behind-the-scenes at camp life including alliances that have formed, Taj revealing her emotional struggle with being away from her family and Tyson’s playful side around the ladies in camp … and what Coach’s tribemates really think of him.”

If that’s the stuff they highlight in a press release, imagine what they’re going to fill 44 minutes with. Perhaps it’s fortunate that it’s just this episode that’s against a special Wednesday performance episode of American Idol.

Jeff Probst says they know how much the clip shows suck, and promises this one is better. He acknowledged that in his Entertainment Weekly blog, and it’s one of the few actually insightful things that he’s written. (Jeff’s an incredibly cool and nice guy, and is both talented and best reality host we have, but he’s a terrible writer, and he should stop trying to do my job since I sure as hell couldn’t do his.)

Anyway, Probst writes that it’s “a really cool ‘never before scenes’ special. … It’s really good stuff. I know a lot of you guys hate this episode so we worked especially hard to make it rock! One of our best producers Daren sweated night and day for weeks to find stuff worthy of your time. Give it a shot if you’re around.”

Jeff Probst blogs ‘Survivor: Tocantins': episode 5 [Entertainment Weekly]

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.