Good Monday morning! It’s a big week for reality TV, with an international hit coming to the U.S. as Love Island premieres (CBS, weekdays at 8 starting Tuesday).
Will it be as big of a phenomenon here as it is in the U.K.? Will audiences ignore it like they did Paradise Hotel, a show that has the exact same format?
We’ll find out later this week—but there’s a lot more reality TV than just Love Island this week. Here’s your overview of what’s premiering, both series and one-off documentaries and specials.
Years after Last Comic Standing, NBC is trying again with a comedy competition: Bring the Funny (NBC, Tuesdays at 10) won’t be limited to any particular type of comedy, and will be judged by Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen, and Jeff Foxworthy.
Another new competition starts this week: The Next Big Thing (BET, Tuesdays at 10), on which “twelve up-and-coming R&B and hip-hop artists are put through a grueling artist development boot camp designed to create bonafide superstars,” according to the network.
The Real Housewives of New York City have ended their latest season, which had its highs and lows, though wasn’t its most engaging season ever. They’re my Housewives, but I don’t ever need a single minute with Dale berating Tinsley again. Let’s stick with the comic delusion, please!
Anyway: it’s not over yet, because there are three hours of reunions coming up, starting this week and continuing for three weeks (Bravo, Thursdays at 9).
Luann will be on the couches this year, along with Bethenny, Sonja, Dorinda, Tinsley, and Barbara, and Bravo says they’ll “confront Ramona for her lies and insults” and “hold Luann accountable for her sobriety.”
Returning for new seasons this Thursday are three favorites:
- Hollywood Game Night (NBC, Thursdays at 9)
- Dr. Pimple Popper (TLC, Thursdays at 9)
- Jersey Shore Family Vacation (MTV, Thursdays at 8)
The hybrid scripted/reality series Escape the Night (YouTube, July 11) returns with an all-star season.
Fast ‘N’ Loud (Discovery, Mondays at 9) returns, and so does Top Gear (BBC America, Sundays at 8) with one returning host, Chris Harris, and two new ones, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness.
History is having “four of the world’s leading strongmen” travel the world and try to break records from historical feats of strength on the new series The Strongest Man In History (History, Wednesdays at 10).
Couples who have disparity in their wealth are the subject of Marrying Millions (Lifetime, Wednesdays at 10).
In true crime, there are three premieres:
- ‘Til Death Do Us Part (ID, Tuesdays at 10)
- Killer Affair (Oxygen, Thursdays at 8)
- Injustice with Nancy Grace (Oxygen, Saturdays at 6).
Travel Channel serves up another show about ghosts, this time with a psychic and a detective teaming up for The Dead Files (Travel Channel, Thursdays at 10).
It’s Space Week on National Geographic, which began last night with Apollo: Missions to the Moon, which I loved in part because of its atypical style: no narrator, no talking heads, no interviews, just immersive footage.
Here’s what Nat Geo will air during the week:
- Explorer: Journey to Europa (Monday, July 8, at 8), which explores the moon that “may be our best hope for finding alien life in our solar system.”
- The Armstrong Tapes (Monday, July 8, at 9 and 11, and Thursday, July 11, at 10) promises an “intimate look at one of the world’s greatest and least-known heroes.”
- Challenger Disaster: The Final Mission (Monday, July 8, at 10), the story of which “is told through journalists’ reports, rarely seen images, extensive recordings from NASA and interviews”
- Mars: Inside SpaceX (Tuesday, July 9, at 8), which goes behind the scenes at SpaceX with Elon Musk to explore their attempt to travel to Mars.
- Apollo: Back to the Moon (Tuesday, July 9, at 9, 10, 11, and midnight), includes full-color photos from the mission plus 3D reenactments of Apollo’s trip to the moon.
- Hubble’s Amazing Journey (Wednesday, July 10, at 8, and again at 11) looks at Hubble’s 25 years of amazing images, and also looks at “some of Hubble’s latest observations: exoplanets, astrophysical jets and the bubble nebula.”
- Mission Pluto and Beyond (Wednesday, July 10, at 9) follows the team sending a spacecraft to Pluto.
- Mission Saturn: Inside the Rings (Wednesday, July 10, at 10) explores both the planet and the Cassini spacecraft, which spent 13 years orbiting Saturn before plunging into its atmosphere.
There’s more space TV, too: Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes (History, Sunday, July 14, at 10) includes “newly uncovered footage, rare photographs and previously untelevised audio interviews” about the Apollo 11 mission.
I Love You, Now Die (HBO, July 9 and 10 at 8 p.m.) examines “the 2014 texting suicide case that made national headlines” when “18-year-old Conrad Roy killed himself in his car in Fairhaven, Mass., [and] police discovered text messages in which his girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, seemed to encourage him to commit suicide.”
Before Discovery’s Shark Week returns at the end of the month, National Geographic Channel will compete with its own three-week-long Sharkfest, which starts July 14 with a week of programming on National Geographic Channel, and continues for two more weeks on NatGeo WILD.
The Best of the Hunt (BBC America, Saturday, July 13, at 9) is a special with footage drawn from the series The Hunt, which focuses on predators “and the huge effort they must put forth in order to survive,” according to the network.
JFK Jr. and Carolyn’s Wedding: The Lost Tapes (TLC, July 13 at 8) looks back at the marriage festivities of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette, who both died in 20 years ago in a plane crash.
A four-part documentary series “focuses on creative conversation and the emotional side of music-making.” It’s called Shangri-La (Showtime, Fridays at 9); half the episodes are directed by Won’t You Be My Neighbor director Morgan Neville, and half by Jeff Malmberg.