Marriage Ref, Minute to Win It, and Who Do You Think You Are all renewed, aren’t that bad

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.

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.