Next week: Top Chef’s back, the Discovery Channel turns 25, and I take a little break

Next week, I’m taking Alain de Botton’s advice (via Kottke) and giving my mind a break, unplugging from the world for a few days. Although this coincides with the press heading to Nicaragua to cover Survivor‘s first three days, I’m not going there, but instead just taking a little vacation. Instead of checking e.mail, tweeting, and even watching TV, I’ll read some words printed on paper and bound into things I’ve heard about called “books.”

Like a radio show, I’ll be playing some “best of” while I’m away, so stop by daily to rediscover some of the crazy stuff from the past (nearly) 10 years. I’ll be back live next weekend with another past forward and some catch-up posts after I warm up my DVR, and be fully refreshed to tackle another season of Big Brother and whatever this summer throws at us.

The Past

Meanwhile, The Real Housewives Teresa revealed how much Bravo pays her and her castmate Danielle revealed her sexytimes on tape, which will be released next week. And we also looked at Nick Cannon’s annoyingness and a film about the impact of oil.

The Forward

  • Friday, June 11
    If you didn’t get addicted to Whale Wars last Friday night, or during its previous two seasons, you didn’t watch. So check out the repeat of the first episode [Animal Planet, 8 p.m.] followed by the new episode [9 p.m.]
  • Sunday, June 13
    While Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami returns [E!, 10 p.m.], it’s unacceptable to watch that instead of the awesome competition series Design Star, which returns for its fifth season with some big changes [HGTV, 10 p.m.]. In addition, the Discovery Channel, home to a number of exceptional unscripted series including Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch, turns 25 this month, and looks back at its history tonight with a special [Discovery, 9 p.m.].
  • Monday, June 14
    Warren the Ape [MTV, 10:30 p.m.] is scripted and stars a puppet ape, but parodies a celebrity reality show and includes appearances by people like Dr. Drew. The clips I saw in January were hilarious. As part of Discovery’s 25th anniversary, Dirty Jobs airs a special “The Dirty Truth” [Discovery, 9 p.m.] that includes “six hard-earned lessons gleaned from [Mike Rowe's] 250+ Dirty Jobs,” while Real Housewives of New Jersey loses a cast member who’s probably already been identified [Bravo, 10 p.m.]. Meanwhile, the documentary For Neda [HBO, 9 p.m.] explores the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death during the election protests in Iran last summer was captured on video. It’s part of HBO’s summer documentary series, which always offers great, smart films.
  • Tuesday, June 15
    My Life on the D-List finally returns [Bravo, 9p.m.] with an episode that features Liza Minnelli, and it’s followed by the debut of Double Exposure [Bravo, 10 p.m.], a docudrama that follows celebrity photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani. Also tonight, after Deadliest Catch [Discovery, 9 p.m.], the Mike Rowe-hosted special After the Catch returns [10 p.m.] for five episodes that will feature conversations between Sig Hansen, the Hillstrand brothers, and Keith Colburn.
  • Wednesday, June 16
    Top Chef DC [Bravo, 9 p.m.] debuts, but not before So You Think You Can Dance‘s top 11–not top 10! psyche!–perform for the first time [Fox, 8 p.m.] after drawing an all-star and then learning a routine in their partner’s genre. Also tonight, The Fabulous Beekman Boys [Planet Green, 9 p.m.] follows a gay couple who leave New York City to start a farm and an organic product line, Mythbusters [Discovery, 10 p.m.] look back at their top 25 moments, and ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 airs Brett Morgen’s June 17, 1994 [ESPN, 10 p.m.], a film about a “Friday [that] has come to be known for its firsts, lasts, triumphs and tragedy,” according to ESPN.
  • Thursday, June 17
    The three-part (!) Real Housewives of New York City reunion (the second airs Monday, June 14) finally concludes [Bravo, 9 p.m.], and So You Think You Can Dance will air its first results show [Fox, 9 p.m.] and lose its first dancer.
  • Friday, June 18
    The Discovery Channel wraps up its 25th anniversary retrospective with a special that documents real consequences of its reality programming: Discovery Saved My Life [Discovery, 9 p.m.].

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.