Happy 2019! I hope your new year has been off to a roaring start. I spent this past weekend in the mountains with friends and family, which was a nice recovery from the chaos of the holidays.
Speaking of roaring starts: There is so much reality TV premiering this month—with 18 shows on Jan. 1 and 2 alone! So let’s get to it.
First, since there were almost 30 reality shows debuting or returning last week, I’ll refer you to the winter reality TV guide for a full list.
But here are a few highlights:
- Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Netflix), which I really liked and is the perfect show to start the new year, even though it mostly skips over the transformation. Read my full review here.
- The Masked Singer (Fox, Wednesdays at 8), which was a big hit for Fox, as I predicted in my review of the first bonkers episode.
- Surviving R. Kelly (Lifetime), a documentary series that shares the stories of people who say the singer sexually, mentally, and/or physically abused them. Although all six hours aired on three nights last week, full episodes are on demand and on Lifetime’s web site.
- Titan Games (NBC, Thursdays at 8). Dwayne Johnson hosts—inexplicably—what’s basically a combination of American Ninja Warrior, American Gladiators, and Nickelodeon’s GUTS.
Tonight, NBC brings back acts from the U.S. and international editions of Got Talent for a short seven-episode series, America’s Got Talent: The Champions (NBC, Mondays at 8).
The Bachelor is back with another blank slate as its star. Colton Underwood begins the search for the end of his virginity tonight (ABC, Mondays at 8).
Antiques Roadshow (PBS, Mondays at 8) returns for its 23rd season, which will take the show out of convention centers and into historic venues. Later today, I’ll have a behind-the-scenes story about how the show is produced.
In food competitions, there’s the new cake competition series hosted by Giada De Laurentiis called Winner Cake All (Food Network, Mondays at 10). Each episode has four teams of two baking cakes for a $10,000 prize.
Right before it is the return of Kids Baking Championship (Food Network, Mondays at 9), which has contestants ages 9 to 13.
Two ridiculous and fun game shows return this week: Ellen’s Game of Games (NBC, Tuesdays at 8) and Match Game (ABC, Wednesdays at 10).
The ads for Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club (MTV, Tuesdays at 8) baffle me, but the actor is back with another reality show, this time following her as she launches a club in Greece.
A newly single Nikki Bella starts dating again on Total Bellas (E!, Sundays at 9).
A new season of Growing Up Hip Hop (WE tv, Thursdays at 9) will be paired with Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition (WE tv, Thursdays at 10), which replaces reality stars with hip-hop stars who’ve been on reality shows.
Six young rappers compete for a recording contract on The Rap Game (Lifetime, Jan. 10 at 9, then Thursdays at 10).
In other celebrity reality TV, Finding Your Roots returns (PBS, Tuesdays at 8) as Henry Louis Gates, Jr. tells celebrities the stories of their families and histories. This season, those celebrities include Laura Linney, George R. R. Martin, Paul Ryan, Andy Samberg, Tig Notaro, and Michael Strahan.
Richard Rawlings and his crew do more garage renovations on Garage Rehab (Discovery Channel, Tuesdays at 8).
On Cartel Crew (VH1, Mondays at 9), young adults who are descendants of people involved with drug cartels are followed by cameras as they try to “make a name for themselves outside of the drug world,” according to VH1.
In crime reality TV, The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta (A&E, Thursdays at 9) follows Atlanta homicide detectives, while The Dictator’s Playbook (PBS, Wednesdays at 10) takes deep dives into the rise and falls of six different dictators from the past century.
On What On Earth? (Science Channel, Tuesdays at 9), scientists try to figure out “strange and baffling” satellite images, while How the Universe Works (Science Channel, Tuesdays at 10) has astronomers and other experts taking a deep dive into space.
Finally, two documentaries air tonight:
- My Country No More (PBS, Monday, Jan. 7, at 10) follows people in Trenton, North Dakota, whose land and communities are being changed by oil drilling—like the fact that their church is the proposed site of a diesel refinery.
- USS Indianapolis: The Final Chapter (PBS, Jan. 8, at 10) tells the story of both the discovery of the shipwreck and its sinking during World War II, when more than 800 people died. The documentary “follows Paul G. Allen’s expedition team aboard his research vessel Petrel” and also includes interviews with surviving sailors.