Next week: Survivor turns 20, plus snakes in Vegas, an Undercover Boss, and trashmen

It’s time for Super Bowl Sunday, and the debut of new series and seasons.

The Past

The Forward

  • Friday, Feb. 5
    Tonight’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares [Fox, 9 p.m.] features the couple who detailed their displeasure with parts of the production. At the same time, Shark Tank [ABC, 9 p.m.] ends its first season, and let’s hope the decent demo ratings in its new Friday home help to give it a second season.
  • Sunday, Feb. 7
    Thanks to the Super Bowl, there’s little else new or interesting on TV tonight, but after it ends, whatever time that is, CBS will debut its latest reality series: Undercover Boss. It follows a CEO who works at his or her own company to discover what’s actually going on.
  • Monday, Feb. 8
    Celebrity Fit Club [VH1, 9 p.m.] returns for a seventh season, incredibly, and its cast includes Bobby Brown, Nicole Eggert, Kevin Federline, and Shar Jackson. (Fake) drama! For the Love of Ray J [VH1, 8 p.m.] airs its reunion and final episode, and Cake Boss [TLC, 9 p.m.] and The Bank of Hollywood [E!, 8 p.m.] conclude their seasons. I stumbled onto the latter, on which a panel of quasi-celebs give money to people who ask for it, and couldn’t watch more than 45 seconds because it looked like it’d been produced in a shoebox. That’s the best you can do, Seacrest?
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9
    Earlier this year, Wild Recon host Donald Schultz went to Las Vegas and lived in a glass box for 10 days along with 50 deadly snakes, a number that grew by five every day. He did it to promote his show, and that stunt has become a two-hour special, Venom in Vegas [Animal Planet, 8 p.m.], which will be followed by a new episode of his series. Also tonight, The Biggest Loser [NBC, 8 p.m.] airs its final episode until after the Olympics (it will return March 2), and because the show is so fantastic at subtle integration, the contestants will travel to Colorado to live and train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Meanwhile, the Hollywood round on American Idol 9 [Fox, 8 p.m.] finally starts, as does Ellen DeGeneres as the new fourth judge.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10
    Faces of America [PBS, 8 p.m.] is a fascinating documentary series on which Henry Louis Gates, Jr., introduces 12 celebrities to their previously unknown genealogy and family histories, telling them stories about their ancestors they never knew. Those people include Stephen Colbert, Meryl Streep, Mario Batali, and Malcolm Gladwell. Also tonight, there’s the debut of one of those insufferable cable celebrity reality shows that’s basically improv masquerading as reality, and from the clips I’ve seen, is not even all that funny. This one is The Robert Verdi Show Starring Robert Verdi [Logo, 10 p.m.]
  • Thursday, Feb. 11
    Incredibly, Survivor turns 20 tonight with the two-hour debut of Survivor Heroes vs. Villains [CBS, 8 p.m.] Let’s see if this group of all-stars can live up to the subtitle. Also tonight, there’s a backdoor pilot for Trashmen [TLC, 10 p.m.], a series that, yes, follows a garbage man in New Orleans who cleans Bourbon Street.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.