Here’s your look at the week ahead in unscripted television—reality TV, documentaries, specials, and other shows that you might want to check out.
Thursday is Groundhog Day, and Animal Planet will debut—and debut, and debut, and debut, and debut—a special about the tradition. A Groundhog Day Story is, according to the network’s press release:
“…a first ever comprehensive look at the history and legend of Groundhog Day, its impact on the town of Punxsutawney, PA, and a look into the spirited group of volunteers responsible for all of it: The Inner Circle, who protect Phil throughout the year and plan the annual celebration in Punxsutawney.
… [It] also shares the storied history and steady growth in the popularity of Groundhog Day—from the first official event, documented in local newspapers, to the arrival of television broadcasts, and ultimately the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, where actor Bill Murray played a weatherman trapped in a personal time warp repeating the same day again and again, cementing Groundhog Day as a cultural phenomenon.”
Animal Planet is cheekily repeating the show five times on Feb. 2: at 10 p.m., and then every hour through 3 a.m. It’s produced by Discovery’s Original Content Group.
How Trump triumphed
How did Donald Trump become president? Besides winning a majority of the electoral college’s votes? Showtime used footage shot for The Circus and turned it into a full-length documentary, Trumped (Showtime, Feb. 3 at 9), which is about his “impossible rise” to power.
(There’s another but totally separate, earlier documentary that has a similar name: You’ve Been Trumped. It focuses on people in Scotland who challenged Trump when he tried to build a golf course in their community.)
Here’s a scene that shows the kind of access The Circus had to Trump—and that Hillary Clinton, notably, did not give to the show or others.
Joy at the end of their lives
Tonight, Amy Hardie’s documentary Seven Songs for a Long Life (PBS, Monday at 10 p.m.) profiles “a Scottish hospice center where patients face pain, uncertainty and the possibility of life’s end with song and humor. Hear tunes belted out by patients and caregivers alike between reflections on life, love and mortality.”
Also this week
- Inside the Actors Studio returns (Bravo, Feb. 2 at 8) with Cuba Gooding, Jr.
- How did the first subway get built? Find out on American Experience’s The Race Underground (PBS, Jan. 31 at 9).
- A new game show debuts Tuesday: The Game of Dating (TV One, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 8) is hosted by Tony Rock and “will offer viewers provocative, sexy and hysterical new takes on classic dating show scenarios.”
- Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern returns (Travel Channel, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 9) with its host following Lewis and Clark during a special one-hour episode. On the episode, the network says, Zimmern “samples Pacific lampreys, forages for edible barnacles and harvests sea salt on this culinary adventure.”
- The documentary Becoming Warren Buffet (HBO, Jan. 30 at 10) debuts; HBO calls it a”candid portrait of the philanthropic billionaire chronicles his evolution from an ambitious, numbers-obsessed boy from Nebraska into one of the richest, most respected men in the world.”
- FYI, PBS is reairing The Great British Baking Show season one (which was the UK’s fifth season) on Saturdays at 8. This Saturday: biscuits, aka cookies. And yes, a new season is coming soon-ish.
From the schedule
Other shows debuting this week, from the winter 2017 reality TV schedule and guide:
- The Game of Dating (TV One, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 8)
- Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (Travel Channel, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 9)
- 24 to Life (LMN, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 10)
- Friday Night Tykes (Esquire, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 10)
- Babies Behind Bars (LMN, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 10)
- Hack My Life (truTV, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 10)
- Vinny & Ma Eat America (Cooking Channel, Jan. 31, Tuesdays at 10)
- Spy in the Wild (PBS, Feb. 1, Wednesdays at 8)
- The Carbonaro Effect (truTV, Feb. 1, Wednesdays at 10)
- Nirvanna The Band The Show (Viceland, Feb. 2, Thursdays at 10)
- Killing Bigfoot (Destination America, Feb. 4, Saturdays at 10)