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The Challenge, Bake-Off, a new Growing Up Hip Hop, and other reality shows premiering this week

The Challenge, Bake-Off, a new Growing Up Hip Hop, and other reality shows premiering this week
It's the UK vs US on The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 (Image via MTV)

Good Monday morning! It’s the unofficial last week of summer, which is just me trying to accelerate to fall and some far less-humid weather.

This preview of reality TV and documentary premieres extends through next Monday, which is Labor Day in the U.S., and a holiday for many. Whether you’re breaking from work or working so others can play, I hope your week is full of great reality television.

Animal Babies: First Year on Earth (PBS, Wednesdays at 8 and streaming on is three episodes of cute. As the title suggests, wildlife cinematographers—Sue Gibson, Vianet Djenguet, Colin Stafford-Johnson, and Bob Poole—follow six baby animals for a year, starting at birth.

The animals are a baby elephant, a baby sea otter, a baby toque macaque, a baby Arctic fox, baby spotted hyenas, and a baby mountain gorilla.

Discovery’s Serengeti, which airs new episodes every Sunday and was created to be a more intimate nature series (read my interview with its director), had two baby elephants on its episode last night:

I’m super-excited for a new season of Million Pound Menu (Netflix, Aug. 27), a show I really loved because it’s like Top Chef‘s restaurant wars plus Shark Tank.

There’s a new season of The Great British Baking Show starting in the U.K. this week, and it’ll also be starting in the U.S., too (Netflix, Aug. 30, Fridays), airing just a few days after it premieres there. That’s a major but welcome change.

The Challenge returns with a team versus team format for the first time in a decade. While there are two teams, the theme connects back to last season, so it’s War of the Worlds 2 (MTV, Wednesdays at 9). Here are the 32 cast members.

The second Growing Up Hip Hop spin-off premieres this week: Growing Up Hip Hop: New York (WE tv, Thursdays at 9) includes Ja Rule and his kids, Fat Joe and his son, Charli Baltimore and her daughter, Young Dirty Bastard, and many others.

In murder reality TV, we have:

  • The final season of Homicide Hunter premieres this week (ID, Wednesdays at 9). I’ll have an interview with Joe Kenda on Wednesday.
  • The Devil You Know (Viceland, Tuesdays at 10), a multi-part series on which a journalist investigates a “Satanic sex cult leader” who claimed to have committed murders.
  • The Murder Tapes (ID, Wednesdays at 10) looks at homicide cases via “every conceivable form of taped footage,” according to ID

This weekend, you can watch musicians and athletes spend money on Droppin’ Cash (Netflix, Aug. 30), or watch a stylist do celebrities hair on Styling Hollywood (Netflix, Aug. 30).

In other celebrity reality TV, Jay Leno’s Garage (CNBC, Wednesdays at 10) is back with more of Jay and his cars.

On Labor Day is the premiere of Soundcheck to Stage With Rich The Kid (Fuse, Mondays at 11), which is “an inside look at their favorite artists pre-show rituals and intimate backstage moments,” according to Fuse.

Drain the Oceans, the NatGeo show that uses mapping and CGI to show what earth looks like under bodies of water, has a special episode titled “Thai Cave Rescue” (National Geographic Monday, Sept. 2, at 9). On it, a team of divers will map the caves that trapped 12 soccer players and their coach underground for three weeks, taking “7,000 photos that are pieced together to build a virtual cave and map the boys’ escape route,” according to NatGeo.

Farmsteaders (PBS, Monday, Sept. 2, at 10) follows a man who tries “to resurrect his late grandfather’s dairy farm as agriculture moves toward large-scale farming,” according to PBS.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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