Good morning! Here’s your look at the reality TV and nonfiction entertainment this week.
Let’s start with a show I really enjoy but didn’t mention last Monday: Hotel Impossible, which is back with six new episodes (Travel Channel, Mondays at 10) that started last week.
I didn’t mention it because, for some strange reason, Travel Channel doesn’t seem to care: the show’s web site just says “consult program guide” instead of the day and time for new episodes, and the network didn’t send out any kind of announcement or listings update. I asked Travel Channel PR and the show’s production company on Twitter; the production company doesn’t know, and there’s been no response from the channel.
Someone in Hollywood please explain to me why networks spend money on shows and then actively works hard to make sure no one sees them. And someone in reality TV please tell me what that’s like. Seriously, I’d love to hear your stories!
This week’s reality show premieres
There are new seasons of cable favorites Gold Rush (Discovery, Oct. 13, Fridays at 9) and Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars (WE tv, Oct. 13, Fridays at 9).
In food TV, Alton Brown takes over Chopped‘s kitchen for the five-episode tournament Chopped: Alton’s Challenge (Food Network, Oct. 10, Tuesdays at 10), while Damaris Phillips and Rutledge Wood travel the south in Southern and Hungry (Cooking Channel, Oct. 9, Mondays at 8).
Man’s Greatest Food (Cooking Channel, Oct. 11, Wednesdays at 8) travels the country looking for, uh, great food, and Americans can now watch the latest season of MasterChef Canada (Cooking Channel, Oct. 10, Tuesdays at 8).
Tuesday, I’ll have an interview with the executive producers of CNBC’s Adventure Capitalists (CNBC, Oct. 10, Tuesdays at 10), which is like Shark Tank except the investors try the products, because they’re hearing pitches outside in outdoor environments.
Also Tuesday, look for reviews of Undercover High (A&E, Oct. 10, Tuesdays at 10), which sends adults into a Kansas high school to pretend to be high schoolers, and American High School (National Geographic, Tuesdays at 8), which just follows real high school students.
There’s a new music industry docuseries The Platinum Life (E!, Oct. 15, Sundays at 10), and a new Morgan Freeman series The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman (National Geographic Channel, Oct. 11, Wednesdays at 9).
Finally, if you like TV that scares the shit out of you, there’s Monsters Inside Me (Animal Planet, Oct. 15, Sundays at 9); Make it Out Alive (Smithsonian Channel, Oct. 15, Sundays at 9), which is about disasters; and Air Disasters (Smithsonian Channel, Oct. 15, Sundays at 8), which is self-explanatory.
Documentaries airing this week
- The Three Hikers (Starz, Monday, Oct. 9, at 9 p.m.) is about Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal, three Americans who spent more than two years in Iranian prison after being captured while hiking in northern Iraq, near the border with Iran.
- Fox Tales (PBS, Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m.) follows a group of newborn Red fox pups in Canada—and the challenges the species faces, including their own mother banishing them from the family to benefit her other offspring.
- An entire season of Whale Wars focused on Sea Shepherd’s activities in the Faroe Islands, where the isolated Faroese have been hunting non-endangered whales for centuries. I went there to cover the overlap of environmentalism, tradition, and documentary film for Playboy (here’s that story). Tonight, the documentary The Island and the Whales airs on TV (PBS, Monday, Oct. 9, at 10 p.m.) focuses on how the Faroese people have been affected by their tradition—which includes outsiders trying to stop them, but also eating whale meat that’s contaminated, thanks to industrialized nations’ contamination of the oceans.