This week: New reality series debut, old favorites return

It’s a big week for reality TV: Though we’re just about six weeks away from fall premieres, a bunch of shows are kicking off new seasons this week. But first, a look at what you may have missed: this time, in a slightly different format.

The Past: last week’s most-read stories

  1. Big Brother house breaks down in tears, hypocrisy, self-nomination stupidity
  2. Mary Murphy details her limited role on So You Think You Can Dance: “I’m back in the pool”
  3. Survivor Nicaragua challenges, tribe names, cast member identities leak out
  4. Big Brother houseguests speak for us as they limp through another episode
  5. Survivor 22: Russell Hantz versus Rob Mariano rumored, while Coach goes to Nicaragua, Hatch says he’ll be back
  6. Mary Murphy still hasn’t been asked back to SYTYCD
  7. Jimmy Johnson on Survivor Nicaragua; the NFL coach almost went to Gabon
  8. Rachel Zoe’s Taylor fired or quit
  9. American Idol’s audition process and “secrets” explained
  10. Big Brother 7 slop is “nutritionally fortified porridge mix”

The Forward: what to look for this week

  • Monday, July 26
    The men tell all, or at least all that they want to tell to Chris Harrison, on a special two-hour The Bachelorette tonight [ABC, 8 p.m.]. As part of its summer documentary series, HBO airs Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County, Alexandra Pelosi’s film about the homeless kids who live in motels in the Orange County, which we’ve seen on reality TV before chronicling the lives of super-rich people. Meanwhile, You’re Cut Off ends its first season [VH1, 9 p.m.] as the spoiled girls end their version of rehab.
  • Tuesday, July 27
    Breakthrough with Tony Robbins [NBC, 8 p.m.] is a new series on which the motivational speaker and his team help people change their lives; tonight’s debut focuses on a couple whose reality changed when, at their wedding, they jumped into a pool, and the man broke his neck and ended up confined to a wheelchair. Next up is the debut of Masterchef [Fox, 9 p.m.], another Gordon Ramsay-fronted food competition on the network, though this one is a competition between home cooks, and there are other judges, including Top Chef regular Graham Elliot. On cable, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider gets his own reality show, Growing Up Twisted, which debuts [A&E, 10 p.m.] with two back-to-back half-hour episodes. Tonight is also the last episode of Deadliest Catch‘s sixth season, its best and most tragic [Discovery, 9 p.m.], and that’s followed by a new season of The Colony [Discovery, 10 p.m.], which strands people of varying skill levels in a post-apocalyptic environment.
  • Wednesday, July 28
    A new makeover show from producer Allison Grodner debuts tonight: On Plain Jane [The CW, 9 p.m.], Louise Roe makes over a different woman each week, and at the end, that person “will surprise her unsuspecting crush with her new look and reveal her true feelings to him,” according to the CW. Later, on Work of Art [Bravo, 10 p.m.], the remaining artists will be paired and create works of art based on opposites, and the weakest pair will go home. Also, the special The Bachelor Then & Now [E!, 10 p.m.] includes interviews with the show’s cast members about what happened on their seasons and what has happened since, besides just breaking up.
  • Thursday, July 29
    After Matt’s reign of arrogance ends on Big Brother when a new HOH is crowned after someone else is evicted [CBS, 8 p.m.], Tim Gunn and company return for their third season on that other network. Project Runway 8 [Lifetime, 9 p.m.] will air 90-minute episodes every week, which means no Models of the Runway. Instead, it’s followed by On the Road with Austin and Santino [Lifetime, 10:30 p.m.], who will travel the country to give women fashion makeovers. What a creative idea for a show. Finally, it’s the return of Snooki and the gang, as they head to Miami for the second season of the now-awkwardly titled Jersey Shore [MTV, 10 p.m.].

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