Next week: Labor Day brings reality TV marathons, and some fall shows debut

Labor Day weekend has arrived with a bunch of reality TV marathons. Although a few shows debut new seasons this week, it won’t be the official start of the fall TV season until it arrives in mid-Sept. It’d be nice if fall weather showed up, too.

The Past: last week’s most-read stories

  1. Big Brother 11’s Michele is on Playboy’s sex-on-TV reality show Foursome
  2. Survivor contract, rule book are back online
  3. Survivor contestant contract: the waivers, agreements that cast members, families sign
  4. Survivor rules: the contract that details pay, tie-breakers, prohibited behavior, and more
  5. Julie Chen confronts liar Matt about his wife’s disease lie

The Forward: what to look for this week

  • Friday, Sept. 3
    Animal Planet’s Cove spin-off mini-series Blood Dolphins airs its first episode in its normal timeslot [9 p.m.] after previewing it last week. Meanwhile, the second episode of Survivorman Les Stroud’s new show, Beyond Survival, will air [Discovery, 9 p.m.]. On it, he–and a camera crew this time–visit tribes in remote locations so he can learn their traditions and cultures.
  • Sunday, Sept. 5
    After a weak competition looking for a new designer, HGTV looks for “the nation’s best non-professional handyman” who will get a development deal for a show with the network. All-American Handyman [HGTV, 10 p.m.] is a competition between 15 men and five women, and those five women apparently don’t get to be represented in the show’s title. Also Sunday, two NFL players’ reality series end tonight: Chad Ochocinco’s series The Ultimate Catch concludes first [VH1, 9 p.m.], although its outcome has been spoiled by tabloid reports about his dating life. It’s followed by the second season finale of Terrell Owens’ The T.O. Show [VH1, 10 p.m.]. Meanwhile, there’s a new show about people who eat compulsively eat odd certain foods: Freaky Eaters [TLC, 10 p.m.] debuts with two back-to-back episodes that look at people who are addicted to cheeseburgers and, in the second episode, sugar.
  • Monday, Sept. 6
    Labor Day means reality TV marathons, including one that highlights hard-working people’s jobs through the eyes of host Mike Rowe: Dirty Jobs [Discovery, 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday]. After Whale Wars reruns its season [Animal Planet, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.], the network airs a special about Pete Bethune’s experiences on board a Japanese ship and in Japan, where he was imprisoned for months [Animal Planet, 10 p.m.]. Another marathon follows someone who spends time on water, but in a different way: extreme angler Jeremy Wade looks for fish that are the subject of rumors and myths on River Monsters [Animal Planet, Sunday at 11 a.m. to Monday at 5 a.m.]. Little People, Big World reruns episodes all day [TLC, 6 a.m.] until the debut of its sixth and final season [TLC, 8 p.m.].
  • Also, there are day-long marathons of Destination Truth [SyFy, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.], Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami [E!, noon to 5 p.m.], Pawn Stars [History, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.], The Real Housewives of New Jersey [Bravo, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.], Made [MTV, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.], Teen Mom [MTV, 1 to 5 p.m.], Jersey Shore [MTV, 5 to 11 p.m.], The T.O. Show [VH1, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.], Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations [Travel Channel, 9 a.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Tuesday], and Hoarders [A&E, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.].

    Hoarders returns following its marathon with the first two episodes of its third season [A&E, 9 p.m.], which are sure to be awesome–it’s a fantastic if horrifying show. Also tonight, The Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion concludes [Bravo, 9 p.m.] and is followed by the debut of Thintervention with Jackie Warner [Bravo, 10:15 p.m.], the new weight loss series that won’t focus on Jackie Warner’s personal life.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 7
    My Trip to Al-Qaeda [HBO, 9 p.m.] is based on The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 author Lawrence Wright’s one-man play that “chronicling fundamentalist Islam’s rise to power, as well as Wright’s struggle to maintain objectivity as a journalist in the wake of 9/11,” according to HBO. Later, Chopped [Food Network, 10 p.m.] continues its champions round as winners compete for $50,000.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 8
    Top Chef DC leaves DC for Singapore, its first-ever international finale city, where one person will be eliminated prior to the actual finale. Earlier, Julie Chen does double-duty this week, showing up to dump someone from Big Brother 12 [CBS, 8 p.m.] earlier than usual and start the final HOH competition. Also, the long-awaited actually high fashion version of America’s Next Top Model, its 15th season, debuts [The CW, 8 p.m.], while Black Gold returns for its third season [TruTV, 10 p.m.].
  • Thursday, Sept. 9
    Destination Truth returns fo its fourth season [SyFy, 9 p.m.] as Josh Gates and company go in search of poltergeists at Pompeii. Big Brother 12 [CBS, 8 p.m.] completes its three-part HOH competition with the stupidest part, the stupid “guess the answers to questions you couldn’t possibly know the answers to.” At least this year, I won’t care who wins or loses it. Finally, everyone’s friend Andy Cohen brings back his awkward yet still celebrity-drawing chat show Watch What Happens Live at a special earlier time [Bravo, 10 p.m.].

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.