NBC has renewed the three unscripted series it debuted this spring: The Marriage Ref, Minute to Win It, and Who Do You Think You Are?, NBC announced today.
The Jerry Seinfeld-produced Marriage Ref got a lot of shit when it first debuted, but it’s been averaging 7.2 million viewers a week and is among “the top 10 among all primetime network series in its concentration of homes with $100K+ incomes in its adult 18-49 audience,” according to the network. It’s not a bad show, it just needs some revision so that the celebrities actually have to make judgments rather than jokes, and the ref can do more than read a pre-scripted decision that has nothing to do with what everyone just said.
Minute to Win It is a game show hosted by Guy Fieri that can survive on a challenge budget of $100 per season, because challenges consist of things like pulling all the Kleenex out of a box using one hand in one minute. Considering what a mess NBC is, I can’t believe it doesn’t get mocked more for the cheapness of the show. But it’s averaging 6 million viewers an episode when it airs on Sundays, and is surprisingly if only mildly entertaining–if nothing else, then to watch for the moments when the audience doubles in size because images of a stand-in audience are projected onto screens above the real audience.
Finally, the Lisa Kudrow-produced Who Do You Think You Are?, which follows celebrities as they explore their family tree, is pretty decent, and has been getting an average of 6.8 million viewers overall. It’s obvious that the whole journey has been researched and set up by producers in advance. It’s very similar to the PBS series Faces of America, which was hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and his presence made the show, because it was like a conversation between him and the celebrity whose family history was being explored.