The Hills fakes its own death tonight

After six seasons and four years of just-plausible-enough fake drama, The Hills ends tonight. Also tonight, its spin-off, The City, concludes its second and perhaps final season. This all unfolds over four hours, starting at 8 p.m. ET with “The Hills Live: A Hollywood Ending,” concluding with a one-hour live after-show at 11 p.m.

While its visual style was established by its predecessor, Laguna Beach, The Hills became a cultural phenomenon thanks to tabloid interest in its stars–which, of course, was ignored on the show. Over the years, it was increasingly revealed to be heavily manipulated if not downright fake, from producers reshooting scenes to casting actors and using fake locations. Eventually, they just gave up pretending that it was real, admitting, among other things, that cast members get dialogue via text message. And let’s not forget what kind of monsters the show created.

In The L.A. Times, Jon Caramanica writes that the series is now “badly limping and in need of euthanasia” thanks in part due to the absence of “the long, meditative shots that lent structure and dignity to even the most insipid conversations between cast members,” never mind Lauren Conrad, who “was truly the show’s glue, a beacon of innocence and gentleness, and someone to root for.”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.