Good morning! It’s time for a weekly look at what’s ahead in reality TV. This first full week of May is bringing us new seasons of several shows, including a second season of a live event series produced by the people behind CBS’ Big Brother.
I really enjoyed the celebrity episodes of Undercover Boss last year, which improved the show significantly, and now we’re getting an entire season of Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition (CBS, Fridays at 8).
The first four celebrities who will participate—going undercover to meet people before revealing their identities and helping those people realize their dreams—are Gabby Douglas, Idina Menzel, Bethany Mota, and Deion Sanders.
After a fun run on ABC a few years ago, BattleBots returns, and will air on two different networks: it debuts Friday, and then airs Fridays at 8 on Discovery with episodes repeating the following Wednesday at 9 on Science.
Couples talk about their relationships, from falling in love to more challenging moments, on season two of Black Love (OWN, Saturdays at 10). This season’s couples include former Survivor contestant Taj George and her husband Eddie.
Bill Nye returns to save the world from ignorance about science with his series Bill Nye Saves the World (Netflix, May 11), on which he’ll talk about addiction, evolution, water shortages, pets, and more.
Also back: Two reality family sitcoms, Chrisley Knows Best (USA, Tuesdays at 10) and The Cromarties (USA, Tuesdays at 10:30); cooking competition Best Baker in America (Food Network, Mondays at 9); the home renovation series Love It or List It (HGTV, Mondays at 9); and the body renovation series Botched (E!, Wednesdays at 9).
There are two new series coming our way:
- Evil Genius: the True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist (Netflix, May 11). “This baffling true crime story starts with the grisly death of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck—and gets weirder from there.”
- Abuse of Power (Oxygen, May 12, Saturdays at 7). Host Lauren Sivan “will examine the twisted and true stories where people in positions of power and prominence took advantage of their authority to commit heinous acts of crime”
And two documentaries:
- A Dangerous Son (HBO, Monday, May 7, at 8) focuses on the “challenges in treating children with serious emotional disturbance,” which HBO says affects “one in ten American children,” with 17 million having psychiatric disorders. Director Liz Garbus followed three kids and their families for the film.
- The Nature miniseries Natural Born Rebels concludes (PBS, Wednesday at 8), with an episode that focuses on mating, including “promiscuous prairie dogs to manakin pick-up artists, kidnapping macaques and hyenas with a bad case of sibling rivalry,” according to PBS.
Also this week, the Vanderpump Rules season six reunion starts tonight lasts all month long (Bravo, Mondays at 9). The three reunion episodes will be followed by a May 28 behind-the-scenes special titled “Secrets Revealed.”
Finally, the producers of Big Brother, Fly on the Wall’s Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan, return to TLC for the second This is Life Live, which starts on Mother’s Day and continues for four nights. Each episode shows “life-altering experiences as they unfold in real time,” according to TLC.
They’re also experiences that have been scheduled to happen during live broadcasts. Here’s what will go down this year:
- Night One (Sunday, May 13):Survivors of the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy will take part in an incredible, healing experience; and a seven-year-old girl, born without a right hand and forearm, will receive a life-changing prosthetic device.
- Night Two (Monday, May 14):A mother will witness the impact of her late son’s heart donation by meeting the recipient and hearing her son’s heartbeat one more time; and a struggling family in need of a safe place to live will be surprised with the gift of a house.
- Night Three (Tuesday, May 15):A young man will apologize to the family and friends of a young woman he killed in a car accident several years ago; and a father will be reunited with his two long-lost daughters and take custody of them, growing instantly from a family of four to a family of six.
- Night Four (Wednesday, May 16):A 32-year-old man, forced to relearn all his motor skills after a cardiac event left him clinically dead and in a coma, will surprise an unsuspecting crowd of people who helped save his life; and a woman seeks to reunite with her biological mother who placed her for adoption 37 years ago.
TLC also has a companion series online now called This is Life Live: Where Are They Now? that catches up with people from last year; it’s on TLC GO.