One month down in 2010, and a new group of reality shows are ready to make their debut.
- This final week in January, the Jersey Shore cast’s appearance caused a near-riot, and their popularity may explain why MTV is paying them a lot more for season two. Also coming back: more Survivor, although there’s still no word from its host, though his pet project reality show debuted and subsequently tanked. If he leaves, I had an off-the-wall idea for his replacement. Also this week, I wrote about the increasingly overlapping worlds of reality TV and porn, and the reality world didn’t disappoint, with news that nudity was coming from a real housewife and a Big Brother cowboy.
- 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.