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BET’s College Hill debuts tonight.

BET’s College Hill debuts tonight.
Television’s first black reality TV series debuts tonight as BET airs College Hill at 9 p.m. ET. Eight students, who BET helpfully stereotyped for us, live together in dorm suite. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Southern University “had editorial oversight” over the show’s content, and The Hollywood Reporter says “the show’s producers take a more active role in manipulating student activities” than similar shows. But show producer and Babyface spouse Tracey Edmonds says the show “is nothing like you’ve ever seen before on TV. It’s not the black version of any other reality show.” In a Seattle Post-Intelligencer review, Melanie McFarland disagrees, saying the show “isn’t so much a groundbreaking entry as it is a chocolate-dipped version of Fraternity Life or Sorority Life or, more precisely, The Real World seen through sepia-colored glasses.” She does praise pregnant cast member Shalondrea, who is “the kind of girl not usually seen in the reality realm.” Naturally, Virginia Heffernan also weighs in, calling it “an inventive, salty, high-velocity comic drama.” Elsewhere, students at Howard University tell The Hilltop they are both psyched and pessimistic about the series. Quinisha Saunders says, “I think it is great that blacks finally have a reality show we, black college students, can relate to.” But K’toya Anthonyson says, “I like the idea of the black reality show, but I think it is sacred what we do on campus. Black college students’ lives shouldn’t be broadcast.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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