At the top of every page on reality blurred, there’s now an icon that takes you to the most recent reality TV show debut schedules. Looking at the list of shows debuting this winter, and scrolling down to Jan. 19, you’ll see eight shows that debut tonight—never mind the shows that are already airing, including Killing Fields (Discovery Channel, 10 p.m., fascinating), Hollywood Game Night (NBC, 8 p.m., so fun), and Married at First Sight (A&E, 9 p.m.)
Of the new shows, two are ones I will be checking but can’t quite recommend yet:
- Planet Primetime (Travel, 8 p.m.), which finds the host “immersing herself in different cultures through their weirdest, wildest, funniest and most popular television programs”
- The insane-sounding Fit to Fat to Fit (A&E, 10 p.m.), on which trainers gain weight to empathize with their clients or something.
Tonight is also the return of:
- Friday Night Tykes (Esquire, 9 p.m.), the well-produced and thought-provoking but hard-to-watch show about kids who play intensely competitive football,
- and The Prancing Elites Project (Oxygen, 8 p.m.), which follows a gender-bending dance team in the South, and is a show I wanted to like but has been too Oxygen-ated for me.
Reality TV to check out tonight
I’ll have longer stories on these two shows, including interviews with Jillian Michaels and Matt Iseman, coming soon. But for now, here’s what I recommend checking out; I enjoyed the first episodes of both series.
Team Ninja Warrior, Esquire, 8 p.m.
The exceptional displays of physical strength, endurance, and will power are even more thrilling now that the obstacle course can be run by two people at one time. Now the competitors—forming teams of two—aren’t just racing against themselves and the clock, they’re racing against someone who’s right next to them.
Also, touching water doesn’t mean instant elimination, and contestants that lose get to run again later in the episode. In the premiere, this all leads to an intense finale that is just ludicrously awesome.
It’s a smart extension of the summer brand, and is even more watchable, thanks to the direct competition.
Just Jillian, E!, 10 p.m.
Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels is back on television, in a series that feels like a throwback to the Bravo shows like Flipping Out, at least before Flipping Out became a show about casting a red shirt to create conflict every season.
Just Jillian is surprisingly charming as it shows Jillian at home (with her partner and their two kids) and at work (expanding her fitness empire, of which this show is certainly part). In the first episode, the editing is a little disjointed and jumpy, but the humor and sense of playfulness shines through that.