A look back at what happened last week in the world of reality TV, and what to look forward to next week:
- Last week, we finished up learning about Survivor cast members’ strategies and wardrobes just in time for an epic season debut. Meanwhile, Jeff Probst decided to return for another year, and Ellen DeGeneres had a great debut. At the beginning of the week, The Super Bowl gave way to a decent new reality series that became the most-watched reality show debut ever. Tyra Banks and Top Model made some changes, while Howard Stern took the media for a ride. And in tragic news, Deadliest Catch lost one of its captains, though we will see him on TV for one more season.
- Friday, Feb. 12
Tonight, CBS will re-air Undercover Boss‘s first episode [9 p.m.], desperately hoping that the post-Super Bowl ratings weren’t just a fluke and people will keep tuning in. Before that, the network will also re-broadcast Surviving Survivor [9 p.m.].
- Sunday, Feb. 14
It’s Valentine’s Day, but who the hell cares: The Amazing Race is back [CBS, 8 p.m.], starring cast members I don’t love and someone else who probably doesn’t even know how to spell “love.” Afterwords, the CEO of Hooters goes undercover on Undercover Boss [CBS, 9 p.m.]. On cable, Ruby Gettinger returns for a third season of chronicling her weight-loss journey on Ruby [Style, 8 p.m.], and Tool Academy returns for a third season [VH1, 9 p.m.], perhaps providing the world with more men who are willing to do porn after their reality show stints are complete. Also, MTV Canada docudrama Peak Season: Vancouver comes to the US [VH1, 11:30 p.m.] and follows young adults living in Canada’s southwest, and it will air a new episode every night, conveniently scheduled against the Olympics.
- Monday, Feb. 15
Muhammad Ali is the subject of Facing Ali [Spike, 9 p.m.], a documentary in which 10 fighters, including George Foreman and Joe Frazier, talk about what it was like to face him in the ring (it’s also on DVD). Speaking of fighting, Kell on Earth [Bravo, 10 p.m.] started slowly for me, but she won me over last week by bitching out the incompetent interns. And it helps that some of her staff sucks, too, so there’s always lots of drama. Tonight, the episode description says “Kelly must make a difficult decision.” Time for a firing?
- Tuesday, Feb. 16
There’s a two-hour Hollywood round on American Idol 9 tonight [Fox, 8 p.m.] as Fox faces off against the Olympics.
- Wednesday, Feb. 17
American Idol 9 finally reveals its top 24 finalists [Fox, 9 p.m.], and viewers take over as the judges’ power is reduced to commenting on each performance during the live shows.
- Thursday, Feb. 11
New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof is followed by a film crew during a visit to war-ravaged Congo in a new documentary, Reporter [HBO, 9:30 p.m.].