Shaq Vs.’s scripted banter lands it in third place, tied with More to Love

Shaq Vs. has an interesting format, but it’s too bad ABC and/or the show’s producers didn’t trust their star enough to let him just interact with people. The banter with his personal trainer and the episode’s co-star, Ben Roethlisberger, was so annoyingly scripted that I can’t believe they expected anyone to believe it’s authentic. The few genuine-seeming moments were drowned out by that stupidity, never mind the color commentary that makes it seem too much like ABC’s dry and lifeless Superstars. And on the radio and elsewhere, I’ve heard some skepticism about the actual competition and whether it, too, was staged.

Perhaps as a result, or just because Shaq doesn’t have the same popularity he used to, viewers didn’t exactly flock to it, and other Tuesday reality TV–Big Brother, Hell’s Kitchen, and America’s Got Talent–all performed a lot better. The first episode “came in tied for third with FOX’s More to Love for the hour with adults 18-49,” according to TV By the Numbers, “though Shaq Vs. had slightly more viewers than More to Love (4.337M vs 4.032M).”

Big Brother 11 hits highs, Hell’s Kitchen still fiery, and Shaq… [TV By the Numbers]

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.