New reality TV next week: RuPaul’s Drag Race, Michael Vick, Shear Genius, Survivor special

One month down in 2010, and a new group of reality shows are ready to make their debut.

The Past

The Forward

  • Friday, Jan. 29
    Gordon Ramsay returns with another season of Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, 9 p.m.), on which he tries to fix ailing restaurants. I still like the UK version better, because the US one tries to be more sensational, but it’s still a decently entertaining hour of TV.
  • Saturday, Jan. 30
    Tonight, the Fox Reality Channel kicks off what are likely its final two original series: Seducing Cindy [9 p.m.], a dating series starring Cindy Margolis, and Solitary 4.0 [10 p.m.], the endurance/torture competition series in which people are locked in small chambers as they try to outlast each other. Alas, you’d probably have to lock me in a pod to get me to watch yet another D-list celebrity faking their way through a search for love.
  • Sunday, Jan. 31
    Rosie O’Donnell’s latest documentary, A Family Is a Family Is a Family, debuts [HBO, 7 p.m.], which mostly features kids talking about their families and parents, whether they’re interracial couples, same-sex partners, single parents, or something else that’s not quite traditional but still very much a family. Speaking of families, if you want to watch the Duggar family squeeze out another damn baby, there’s a one-hour special [TLC, 8 p.m.] about the birth of the 19th baby.
  • Monday, Feb. 1
    RuPaul’s Drag Race [Logo, 10 p.m.] returns for a second, probably more outrageous season. And speaking of outrageous, Bravo gives us Kell On Earth [10 p.m.], another docudrama about a hard-working, successful, and obnoxious person. In this case, it’s Kelly Cutrone, who you may know as Lauren’s one-time boss on The Hills.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 2
    Lost returns on ABC for its final season and final opportunity to fail to answer questions, and NBC is responding by moving The Biggest Loser to 9 p.m. so its two hours will compete directly with whatever the hell happens on the island. On cable, 19 Kids & Counting [TLC, 9 p.m.] returns for its fourth season, while The Michael Vick Project [BET, 10 p.m.] follows the NFL player on his “road to redemption” after being imprisoned for two years because of his dog-fighting ring.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3
    It’s the Road to Hollywood episode tonight on American Idol 9 [Fox, 8 p.m.], which means one thing: the auditions are over, thankfully. Next week, Hollywood. Also tonight, Launch My Line [Bravo, 9 p.m.] concludes its first (and only? please?) season, but the hair styling competition Shear Genius returns for a third season, although with a new host, judges, and mentor.
  • Thursday, Feb. 4
    With one week to go until the 20th season begins, Survivor looks back using the style of a VH1 retrospective. Surviving Survivor [CBS, 8 p.m.] will feature clips from memorable moments along with interviews from memorable–or not-so-memorable!–cast members.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.