Capture and The Profit: shows worth checking out on CNBC and The CW

This summer has brought several surprisingly entertaining shows, and there’s more coming. Tonight, two very different networks debut very different series that are worth watching, even though each may seem familiar.

Capture is on The CW, but it’s produced by Blackbird Television and Renegade 83, the producers responsible for Discovery’s great series Naked and Afraid and NBC’s bad but gorgeous series Ready for Love.

Capture is the reality TV version of The Hunger Games–the show even calls its arena the “Hunting Grounds,” and its host is the “Game Master”–except there’s no killing. Judging based on this preview, it’s unfortunate there wasn’t at least stunning to the point of unconsciousness for some of the contestants. But the cinematography and game play look really interesting.

Some of the teams of two are designated “hunters” each week, and they pursue the others who have to constantly keep moving and have limited supplies and are also at the whim of the producers/host, who will manipulate the playing area. One of the first two teams to be captured will be voted out.

The Profit, which airs on CNBC as part of its CNBC Prime block of programming, is similar to shows such as Restaurant Impossible and Tabatha Takes Over, shows I cannot stop watching. But it has a Shark Tank twist: Marcus Lemonis invests his own money in the businesses he makes over. So there’s a real reason for him to help, not just create conflict.

The trailer below emphasizes the moments of drama, but I’ve seen the first two episodes, and it was familiar but surprisingly different, mostly because it’s not formulaic. While Gordon Ramsay now appears to just go in and throw gasoline on hot spots identified by his producers, and then slap on a coat of paint before he leaves, Marcus Lemonis is much more invested. Yes, there’s drama, but again, where it comes from is both genuine and atypical.

This is a business makeover show without the predictability–especially next week’s episode, which has a number of unexpected turns, especially in its final act. It’s reality TV worth watching–on CNBC, of all places.

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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.