Undercover Boss debuts post-Super Bowl; Survivor gets anniversary special; Probst’s pilot will air

In 2004, CBS followed the Super Bowl with the debut of the eighth season of Survivor, the first all-star season. The second full all-star season, Survivor Heroes vs. Villains, and the 20th season of the show, will not get that privilege, though it will get two special lead-ins.

The network is giving the post-game slot to Undercover Boss, a new reality show that follows executives who work alongside their unsuspecting employees. That’s pretty surprising, considering they could have used it to pump even more life into one of their current successes–The Big Bang Theory or The Mentalist–but are instead giving it to an untested series. The show will normally air on Sunday nights behind The Amazing Race. The trailer for the show does look good; at least, it looks better than any other new reality show CBS has tried lately.

Meanwhile, CBS will give its best unscripted series a commemorative episode: “Surviving Survivor,” a special Survivor 19-season retrospective will air on Feb. 4, one week before the two-hour Feb. 11 premiere.

Finally, CBS will air the pilot for Jeff Probst’s reality series, Live For the Moment, on Jan. 28 in his other show’s normal timeslot. The show was announced as Live Like You’re Dying, and filmed its pilot early this year. That’s kind of a long time, and Jeff wrote in EW, “I’m really proud of it and I hope it connects with an audience,” but he added, “The only way a show like this gets a chance for a second episode is if people watch the first one.”

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.