This week: The Real World turns 25 and Russell has a chance at redemption

It’s the return of past forward, the feature that likes to go on vacation when I have long, stressful weeks and just can’t bother to take the hour or two it takes to compile this. But the return is just in time for a night of crazy television, and a week that will sure to be filled with some memorable reality TV moments.

In case you forgot, this feature highlights what reality TV stories were popular last week, and gives you an overview of what to watch on TV this coming week.

The Past: last week’s most-read stories

  1. “Russell rash finally voted out of Survivor after his tribe throws a challenge
  2. MTV’s Abram Boise arrested, wrote his name in feces on jail cell wall
  3. Russell’s fans defend his honor; Jeff Probst compares his exit to moon landing
  4. Top Chef Masters dumps its format, judges and will become like Top Chef 1313: Nightmare Mansion
  5. Reality Steve changes Bachelor ending spoiler, switching who Brad picks

The Forward: what to watch this week

  • Sunday, March 6
    There’s an insane showdown of reality TV tonight, starting on broadcast TV at 8 p.m., when we have the continuation of The Amazing Race‘s unfinished business [CBS, 8 p.m.] at the same time as the debut of an intriguing competition series America’s Next Great Restaurant [NBC, 8 p.m.] on which contestants will build a concept for a chain restaurant. And Secret Millionaire changes networks and producers when it debuts its second season [ABC, 8 p.m.]. As if that wasn’t enough, also at 8, Brick City, the amazing documentary series about Newark, NJ, continues its second season [Sundance, 8 p.m.], and Ruby returns [Style, 7 p.m.] with two one-hour episodes.

    Next, the always entertaining Celebrity Apprentice returns for its fourth season [NBC, 9 p.m.] at the same time that Chopped starts a new all-stars tournament on a new night [Food Network, 9 p.m.]. At the same time, there’s a new Undercover Boss [CBS, 9 p.m.] with the mayor of Cincinnati (which was controversial when it was filmed). The most-popular show on Animal Planet, River Monsters, returns for its third season [Animal Planet, 9 p.m.] and a show that’s basically like The Real Housewives of Hip Hop, Love & Hip Hop, debuts [VH1, 9 p.m.].

    At 10, we have the sixth season of The Real Housewives of Orange County [Bravo, 10 p.m.], and the premiere of the incredible Taking on Tyson [Animal Planet, 10 p.m.] (if you’re not sure about tuning in, watch the trailer and I’ll bet you’ll be convinced to at least try it).

    Finally, After Lately [E!, 11 p.m.] follows the crew of Chelsea Handler’s show, although it’s described as a “mocku-series” so there may not be much reality in it.

  • Monday, March 7
    The Bachelor kills time before its finale with the “women tell all” episode [ABC, 8 p.m.]. On cable, Too Fat for 15 returns for its second season [Style, 8 p.m.] and Aubrey O’Day’s new docudrama All About Aubrey debuts [Oxygen, 10 p.m.].
  • Tuesday, March 8
    Tonight, on cable, Pitchmen [Discovery, 7 p.m.], Dirty Jobs [Discovery, 9 p.m.], and Cupcake Wars [Food Network, 9 p.m.] all end their seasons. Continuing, however, are The Real Housewives of Miami [Bravo, 10 p.m.], Teen Mom [MTV, 10 p.m.], Top Shot [History, 10 p.m.], and My Life as Liz [MTV, 11 p.m.].
  • Wednesday, March 9
    Survivor Redemption Island [CBS, 8 p.m.] gives Russell Hantz a chance to redeem himself by winning a challenge; if he doesn’t, he’s out of the game, at least until the next time the producers bring him back. American Idol quickly and efficiently cut down its semi-finalists last week, and so we start the finals tonight [Fox, 8 p.m.]. Let’s hope this group can step it up and give us something worth watching for two and a half months.
  • Later, the outstanding Top Chef All Stars season heads to the Bahamas [Bravo, 10 p.m.] with five contestants after not eliminating anyone last week.

    And the fact that I’m including this last tells you all you need to know about my attitude toward it, but The Real World debuts its 25th season tonight, returning to Las Vegas where it began its slide into drunken fighting hook-ups [MTV, 10 p.m.]. Fittingly, there’s a gay-for-pay porn star on this season.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.