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A Big Brother winner returns to TV, and other reality shows to watch this week

A Big Brother winner returns to TV, and other reality shows to watch this week
Big Brother winner Derrick in ID's Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence.

In reality TV this week, Jan. 9 to 15, the OJ Simpson case is examined yet again, this time by Big Brother winner Derrick Levasseur and other investigators, plus broadcast TV tries another food competition series, this time with celebrities.

Six murders investigated on reality TV

Big Brother winner Derrick Levasseur returns to television as one of the experts in Investigation Discovery’s Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence (Jan. 15 , 16, and 17 at 9). It’s six hours that air over three nights and looks at the murders OJ Simpson was found innocent of in criminal court and liable for in civil court.

The network says the show “follows investigators as they re-open the case that captivated the world, exposing the facts that were overlooked by authorities and questioning and dissecting each pivotal move in the original investigation. From the infamous Bronco chase to updated forensics and DNA data to the examination of a potential murder weapon, each hour-long episode explores new possibilities and theories about what might have really happened on that fateful summer evening more than 20 years ago.”

As to the title, I think this book answers the question.

Also, if you want a truly in-depth examination into the O.J. Simpson case, watch this instead.


Meanwhile, a 2014 viral video is the subject of Lawless Oceans (National Geographic, Jan. 10, Tuesdays at 9). That video showed four men clinging to wreckage in the ocean, and was filmed from a boat that came up to the men—and murdered them.

What happened? In this six-episode series, an investigator, Karsten von Hoesslin, tries to find out.


Behind the scenes with our 44th President

In the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency, The History Channel is airing a two-hour special, The 44th President: In His Own Words, that not only includes an extensive interview with Obama, also, according to the network, includes “unprecedented access and interviews with members of President Obama’s staff and Congress,” including political rivals. (History, Jan. 15, Sundays at 9)

Starting Thursday, the network’s web site “will feature an extensive eight-part oral history with commentary from President Obama and 23 members of his administration” that “is an in-depth look at Obama’s presidency in his own words and the words of those on his team who lived through it.”


A new food reality competition on broadcast TV

I really don’t understand the appeal of Curtis Stone as food show host, but clearly no one agrees with me, because he’s back as the co-host of My Kitchen Rules (Fox, Jan. 12, Thursdays at 9). His co-host/judge is Cat Cora, who I find much more watchable and engaging.

The show has two celebrity teams of two cooking a meal for the two host/judges and their competitors, and host dinner parties at their houses, or rentals they’re pretending are their houses. Teams will be eliminated throughout the competition.

While this is a hit series in Australia, Fox’s trailers make it seem grating and a tiny step beyond the D-list celebrity-driven shows Food Network churns out every few weeks. Hopefully, the show has a different tone.


Nuke it

PBS is airing “a three-night marathon of nuclear-themed programming” this week, including three new specials and one repeat. They are:

  1. Independent Lens, “Containment” (Jan. 9 at 10), “highlights how millions of gallons of radioactive sludge, covering a vast amount of land, were left over from the Cold War.”
  2. American Experience, “Command and Control”  (Jan. 10 at 9) “a chilling, minute-by-minute account of a long-hidden story” that “tells the terrifying truth behind one of America’s most dangerous nuclear accidents: the deadly 1980 incident at an Arkansas Titan II missile complex.” It’s based on this book.
  3. NOVA, “The Nuclear Option” (Jan. 11 at 9 p.m.) “investigates how the realities of climate change, the inherent limitations of renewable energy sources, and the optimism and enthusiasm of a new generation of nuclear engineers is seeding a renaissance in nuclear technology, all while the most recent disaster is still being managed.”
  4. Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail (Jan. 11 at 10) is an “epic journey across the globe [that] explains the fascinating details of uranium’s birth and longevity, how it profoundly shaped the past, how it will change the future, and why it will exist long after humans have left the Earth.”


Other notable reality TV

  • The final two contestants compete in the final three signature, technical, and showstopper bakes on The Great American Baking Show (ABC, Thursday at 8), which has proved to be an improvement over an already-strong first season.
  • The Wheel (Discovery, Jan. 13, Fridays at 10) is a survival show with a twist: the environment the survivalists are in keeps changing, kind of like the Hunger Games arena. Here’s a preview.
  • Revenge Body with Khloé Kardashian  (E!, Jan. 12, Thursdays at 8) is a new series with Khloe helping people “transform their bodies over the course of 12 weeks to be best versions of themselves,” according to E!, which notes that Khloe “has overcome her own body issues.” It’s basically The Biggest Loser + Kardashians, the mash-up the world never needed.
  • Leah ReminiScientology and the Aftermath concludes its first season (A&E, Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 10), and the next night, Lucha Underground airs its mid-season finale (El Rey, Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 8) and Wahlburgers ends its seventh season (A&E, Wednesday at 10:30).
  • Travel Channel’s Dive Into Winter stunt programming—which airs every Sunday at 9 this month—continues with  an episode of Xtreme Waterparks that focuses on parks in Italy and South Carolina (Jan. 15 at 9) and Top Secret Beaches visits Sardinia and Brazil (Jan. 15 at 10).
  • The second-season premiere of Noisey (Viceland, Jan. 10, Tuesdays at 10), which “the cultures and artists behind some of the world’s most compelling music scenes,” visits “the Bay Area in the wake of the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. G-Eazy plays a blowout concert amidst criticism that he is gentrifying hip-hop.”


10 other premieres this week

  1. Big Fan (ABC, Jan. 9, Mondays at 10)
  2. Hate Thy Neighbor (Viceland, Jan. 9, Mondays at 10)
  3. Maine Cabin Masters (DIY, Jan. 9, Mondays at 10)
  4. Are You The One? (MTV, Jan. 11, Wednesdays at 9)
  5. Street Science (Science, Jan. 11, Wednesdays at 10)
  6. Restored (DIY, Jan. 11, Wednesdays at 10)
  7. Growing Up McGhee (Up, Jan. 12, Thursdays at 9:30)
  8. Bring It! (Lifetime, Jan. 13, Wednesdays at 9)
  9. The Rap Game (Lifetime, Jan. 13, Fridays at 10)
  10. First Family of Hip Hop (Bravo, Jan. 15, Sundays at 9)

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About the author

  • 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.


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