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14 reality show debuts and 6 specials to watch this week

14 reality show debuts and 6 specials to watch this week
Host Ted Allen during season 3 of Chopped Grill Masters. Season 4 debuts this week. (Photo by Food Network)

Good Monday morning. It’s the last day of July 2017, and the start of a week that will see twice as many reality show debuts as there are days.

Let’s start our look at this week’s reality TV and documentary TV with five specials airing this week:

  • Flying High with Phil Keoghan (Smithsonian Channel, Aug. 6 at 8) is a tour of The Amazing Race host’s home country, New Zealand, that goes beyond just its gorgeous landscapes. “It’s the people that give places their own personality, and that was the foundation for creating this special. Beyond the stunning landscape, I wanted to share the stories of the passionate people of New Zealand—the unique characters who epitomize what the country is really made of,” he said in a press release.
  • A three-hour special examines the life and death of Princess Diana Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason (TLC, Monday, July 31, at 8). TLC says the special “will take a deeper look at her life, the events leading up to the tragic night that ended it and, explore several conspiracy theories surrounding her death.”
  • Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America (Logo, Thursday, Aug. 3, at 9) follows an activist, Moises Serrano, who is a gay undocumented immigrant. Logo calls this “[a]n illustration of the intersection of queer and immigrant issues.”
  • Dope Man (A&E, Monday, July 31 at 10) “follows Tim Ryan, an ex-con and former addict, who before embracing recovery, lost his son to heroin and nearly died from it himself,” according to the network. In the special, he helps others who are suffering from addiction.
  • August 10 will be the 40th anniversary of the capture of David Berkowitz, the serial killer known as Son of Sam, hence the special Son of Sam: The Hunt for a Killer (ID, Saturday, Aug. 5 at 9). Investigation Discovery insists this will be “a compelling suspense thriller tracking the investigative moves of the NYPD and New York media in their hunt for a suspect, while providing a platform for the survivors and victim’s families.”

Something I missed last week: live animals!

In my weekly preview last Monday, I neglected to mention three special live episodes of television that aired last week: Wild Alaska Live on PBS, which was similar to Big Blue Live, a show I really enjoyed.

It was, as you can guess from the title, wildlife in Alaska, live.

Thankfully, because PBS is awesome, you can watch the three episodes for free, including on its web site and on YouTube. Here’s episode one, which includes aerial footage of a bear and her cubs:

Reality shows debuting this week

  1. Intervention (A&E, July 31, Mondays at 9) returns for another season of trying to help addicts.
  2. Laguna Beach format is back with Siesta Key (MTV, July 31, Mondays at 10).
  3. Does the world need more House Hunters? Of course! So here comes House Hunters Family (HGTV, July 31, Mondays at 10).   
  4. Abby Lee Miller is off to prison so Dance Moms (Lifetime, Aug. 1, Tuesdays at 9) will have rotating guest choreographers.
  5. Chopped’s outdoor tournament returns with Chopped: Grill Masters (Food Network, Aug. 1, Tuesdays at 10).
  6. Rob Lowe and his kids go ghost hunting on The Lowe Files (A&E, Aug. 2, Wednesdays at 10), which I’ll review on Wednesday.
  7. The mayor and a Mississippi town that has 456 people is the subject of Small Town, Big Mayor (UP TV, Aug. 3, Thursdays at 9:30).
  8. The next survival show challenges its participants even more: Darkness (Discovery, Aug. 3, Thursdays at 10) takes place in pitch-black places, and it turns out darkness affects people in incredible—and incredibly scary—ways. Watch for an interview with its producer on Wednesday.
  9. A new group tries to join the squad on Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team (CMT, Aug. 3, Thursdays at 10).
  10. I Love Kellie Pickler (CMT, Aug. 3, Thursdays at 11) continues to follow the American Idol star.
  11. The awful Patti Stanger is back in her second season of Million Dollar Matchmaker (WE tv, Aug. 4, Fridays at 10).
  12. Tia Torres helps both Pit Bulls & Parolees (Animal Planet, Aug. 5, Saturdays at 9) at her animal rescue center.
  13. The hip-hop artist Residente (Fusion, Aug. 6, Sundays at 8:30) gets his own show to look into his ancestry.
  14. 90 Day Fiance spins off 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days (TLC, Aug. 6, Sundays at 9), to see what happens before people arrive to meet their future spouses.

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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. Learn more about Andy.

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