Happy Monday—and Happy April Fool’s Day! For the first time in reality blurred’s almost 19 years, I don’t have a satirical story (or stories) today.
The reason is simple: I didn’t have a strong enough idea that would be 1) silly enough to not be taken seriously or 2) strong enough satire to override my concern about putting misinformation into the world, and potentially damage people’s trust. Sorry about that!
Also, the space between reality and exaggerated satire seems to be collapsing. After all, more than one story I’ve written on April 1—things I’ve written in complete jest!—have come true. And then there was that whole Ty Penninton thing.
Anyway, I invite you to browse previous April Fool’s Day stories and relive those memories. And right now, I’m just skipping this year.
Okay, on to our weekly preview of reality TV premieres.
If you love epic natural history shows, there are two new ones premiering this week:
- Our Planet (Netflix, April 5), which is narrated by Sir David Attenborough is very much like Planet Earth.
- Hostile Planet (National Geographic Channel, Mondays at 9), which calls itself “an unflinching look at the volatility of mother nature and the resilient animals that survive Earth’s most extreme habitats.” “Unflinching” may be an understatement.
I’ll have a review of the series, which includes insight from its producers, later this morning.
Two other docs—or three, actually:
- Tre Maison Dasan (PBS, Monday, April 1, at 10) follows three boys in Rhode Island, each of whom has an incarcerated parent. And their story is common: 1 in 14 American children—1 in 14—is in the same situation.
- Madeleine McCann: An ID Murder Mystery (ID, Sunday, April 7, at 9) is a two-hour special examining the 2007 disappearance of a three-year-old who was on vacation with her parents in Portugal—which is also the subject of a Netflix documentary released last month, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Reality shows premiering this week
Wife Swap (Paramount Network, Thursdays at 9) returns on a new network without celebrities and with the promise that it’ll make people switch houses to “discover there is often more that unites us than divides us.”
For the ongoing continuing stories of reality stars, there are new seasons of Miz and Mrs. (USA Network, Tuesdays at 10), which follows The Miz and Maryse; the ongoing saga of the Braxton family on their show Braxton Family Values (WEtv, Thursdays at 9); and a third season of Hustle & Soul (WEtv, Thursdays at 10), during which Lawrence Page will open a new restaurant in South Beach.
There’s a spin off of Chrisley Knows Best called Growing Up Chrisley (USA Network, Tuesdays at 10:30), which follows Chase and Savannah as they move to L.A. and demonstrate what bad actors they are.
Former Survivor contestant Lisa Whelchel hosts a new show called Collector’s Call (MeTV, Sundays at 10), on which she visits people who collect pop culture stuff. Look for my interview with Lisa this Friday.
TLC offers new seasons of both Little People, Big World (TLC, Tuesdays at 9) and 7 Little Johnstons (TLC, Tuesdays at 10), while Lifetime has a new season of Little Women: LA (Lifetime, Thursdays at 10).
If you like cooking competitions and cannabis, there’s Bong Appétit: Cook Off (Viceland, Tuesdays at 9), which is like Chopped but with pots and pot.
And the first episode of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg’s reality show returns but with a new title and competition focus: Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge (VH1, Wednesdays at 10).
Travel Channel’s focus on travel continues with Legendary Locations (Travel Channel, Tuesdays at 10), on which Josh Gates explores “fabled places”; In Search of Monsters (Travel Channel, Wednesdays at 9), which says it is “a frightening hunt for the truth behind infamous and iconic monsters”; and Ghost Bait (Travel Channel, Thursdays at 10), on which people with intense fears of ghosts are subjected to scary places. Travel!
Discovery’s Gold Rush now has two spin-offs:
- Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail (Discovery, Fridays at 9) returns as Parker Schnabel look for gold in Papau New Guinea
- Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine (Discovery, Fridays at 10) brings back “Dozer Dave” Turin, who’s looking for a mine to, well, mine.
Also back on Discovery: Street Outlaws (Discovery, Mondays at 9).
Back on Lifetime: Escaping Polygamy (Lifetime, Mondays at 10).
New on Oxygen: Murder for Hire (Oxygen, Sundays at 7), which shows footage of people hired to kill other people.
Finally, in the home renovation space, there are two new shows: Big Texas Fix (DIY, Saturdays at 9), which follows Michael and Ashley Cordray restore houses in Galveston, and Mom & Me (HGTV, Saturdays at 11), which follows Karrie and Tristan Trowbridge renovating homes in the Pacific Northwest.