This week: Jersey Shore ends, Survivor luxury item creates drama, Top Chef’s Marcel caters

It’s a busy reality TV week ahead: Dancing with the Stars kicks off and takes over ABC two nights a week, while Jersey Shore comes to an end before the cast heads off to Italy for their next season. Here’s what else to look forward to, and what you might have missed last week:

The Past: last week’s most-read stories

  1. Video of Real World Dustin’s gay sex removed; bloggers asked to remove images
  2. Survivor settles into its slump but duel, idol drama keeps things moving
  3. Brad and Emily still engaged but are on the road to breaking up already
  4. The Situation bombs, Marlee Matlin kills roasting Donald Trump
  5. Richard Hatch gets 9 months in prison, will miss Celebrity Apprentice finale

The Forward: what to watch this week

  • Monday, March 21
    The 12th season of Dancing with the Stars kicks off tonight [ABC, 8 p.m.] with a two-hour episode that will introduce us to the cast members we’ve never heard of and those we have. On Bethenny Ever After [Bravo, 10 p.m.], which has improved since its first episode of obviously producer-directed scenes of exposition, Bethenny and Jason get their daughter baptized. Also tonight, Intervention ends its 10th season [A&E, 9 p.m.] and American Pickers returns for its third season [History, 9 p.m.].
  • Tuesday, March 22
    Top Chef‘s Marcel Vigneron, who’s known for his molecular gastronomy and his weaseliness, has his own catering company and uses his techniques to produce events for clients. Each episode of his new series Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen, which debuts tonight [SyFy, 10 p.m.], follows Marcel as he produces one event. At the same time, Our America with Lisa Ling ends its first season [OWN, 10 p.m.] with Lisa’s first-person investigation into heroin users; next week’s episode checks in with those followed on the great documentary series’ first six episodes.
  • Meanwhile, after its live episode last week, Destination Truth returns for the second half of its fourth season [SyFy, 9 p.m.] and investigates a haunted prison. The Fabulous Beekman Boys, which follows a couple who leave New York City to run a farm, returns for its second season [Planet Green, 10 p.m.].

  • Wednesday, March 23
    Survivor Redemption Island [CBS, 8 p.m.] has brought back something from previous seasons other than obnoxious men: luxury items. The inhabitants of Redemption Island get their luxury items, and one of those “creates an unexpected bond between the dueling castaways,” CBS says. Later, Top Chef All Stars [Bravo, 10 p.m.] has its last quickfire challenge, which will let the chefs create a challenge for each other.
  • Thursday, March 24
    The insanity that is Jersey Shore comes to a close tonight [MTV, 10 p.m.], though there will be a reunion next week.

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.