Happy New Year! This fresh new year comes with the bonus of hearing Barbara Walters say “twenty twenty” every time I type or write out the date. And it also comes with a lot of reality TV.
Television networks and streaming services have decided to ring in 2020 with a bang: dropping more than two dozen new reality shows and/or new seasons in the first five days alone. Here’s a look at what’s coming this week—and there’s more next week, too.
If you want to get this weekly preview in your inbox before it’s published here, just subscribe to my newsletter and upgrade to a paid subscription, or become a patron. Then you can keep your New Year’s resolutions of watching every single reality TV show that airs this year, and supporting independent journalism at the same time!
Recommended to start the new year
The Circle has been a hit in the UK, and Netflix has made a version for the US. The contestants all live in the same building but never meet, interacting over (controlled) social media only—so they aren’t necessarily who they’re portraying themselves to be. They rank and eventually eliminate each other that way, too.
The difference with Netflix’s US version is that it’s all been pre-taped, and thus will drop over three weeks, with four episodes premiering each Wednesday.
Sometime in the middle of the premiere, I was wondering why I was watching people standing in apartments and using a fancy talk-to-text. But by the end of the first episode, after the first elimination, I was ready for episode two. Read my full review of the Netflix version.
25 more reality show premieres
Okay, here’s the big list, in order of premiere, starting with New Year’s Day:
- Married at First Sight (Lifetime, Wednesdays at 8), which moves to Washington, DC, and follows five couples for its 10th season.
- My 600-lb Life (TLC, Wednesdays at 8)
- Paranormal Caught on Camera (Travel Channel, Wednesdays at 9)
- The return of original Supernanny Jo Frost (Lifetime, Wednesdays at 10).
- A former Mythbuster and star of Nitro Circus watch things blow up on The Explosion Show (Science, Wednesdays at 10)
- 1000-lb Sisters (TLC, Wednesdays at 10) follows two sisters who are trying to get to a weight where they can get bariatric surgery
The First 48 is turning 15, and is having an anniversary special (A&E, Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 8) followed by new episodes (Thursdays at 8).
Last year, Lifetime aired Surviving R. Kelly in January, with women telling their stories, and leading to prosecutors in three states filing charges.
Three new episodes will include new survivors, and also interviews with other people, including, Lifetime says, “supporters, psychologists and cultural and legal experts. Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning airs over three nights on Lifetime: Jan. 2 and 3 at 9, and Jan. 4 at 10).
Also on Thursday:
- Alaska PD (A&E, Jan. 1 at 10, then Thursdays at 9)
- Homestead Rescue (Discovery Channel, Thursdays at 8)
- Sex, Explained (Netflix, Jan. 2) is a documentary series narrated by Janelle Monáe
- Christina on the Coast (HGTV, Thursdays at 9)
- 60 Days In (A&E, Thursdays at 10)
- Dr. Pimple Popper (TLC, Thursdays at 9)
- The Ghost Adventures cast watch episodes of their own show on Ghost Adventures: Screaming Room (Travel Channel, Thursdays at 9)
- If pimples aren’t your thing but feet are, TLC has My Feet Are Killing Me (TLC, Thursdays at 10), which follows two doctors who do procedures ranging from warts to toe amputations
And here’s what’s coming this weekend:
- Love After Lockup: Life After Lockup (WE tv, Fridays at 9)
- Live PD (A&E, Fridays and Saturdays at 9)
- Kindred Spirits (Travel Channel, Fridays at 9)
- Extreme Love (WE tv, Fridays at 10)
- Say Yes to the Dress America (TLC, Saturdays at 8) has 52 brides who come to New York City for dresses
- Say Yes to the Dress England (TLC, Saturdays at 9) is the UK version of the TLC series
- Alton Brown somehow agreed to do Worst Cooks in America (Food Network, Sundays at 9), joining Anne Burrell
- Naked and Afraid: Alone (Discovery, Sundays at 10) turns into History’s Alone by making the challenge a solo one
- Sister Wives (TLC, Sundays at 10)
New reality shows and seasons on Disney+, and so much more
If that isn’t enough—and it’s enough, but there’s more!—there are other shows and specials premiering this week.
Today, Disney+ starts streaming several older reality series and seasons, most of which are from National Geographic Channel:
- Continent 7: Antarctica (Season 1)
- Dog: Impossible (Season 1)
- Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER (Season 8)
- Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (Season 7)
- Dr. T, Lone Star Vet (Season 1)
- First Class Chefs: Family Style (Season 1)
- One Strange Rock (Season 1)
- Out There With Jack Randall (Season 1)
- America’s National Parks (Season 1)
- Wild Russia (Season 1)
And on Jan. 2, season 13 of Life Below Zero will start streaming on Disney+.
The Real Housewives of Dallas reunion (Bravo, Jan. 1 and 8 at 9 p.m.) airs this week and next, and features Brandi Redmond, D’Andra Simmons, Kameron Westcott, Kary Brittingham, LeeAnne Locken, and Stephanie Hollman.
Guy’s Grocery Games starts a new tournament with “Super Teams” consisting of chefs from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives who’ve won on GGG, each paired with contestants who GGG who’ve also won (Food Network, Wednesdays at 9).
Aileen Wuornos: Mind of a Monster (ID, Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 10) is about the Florida serial killer whose story was fictionalized in the 2003 film Monster.
Killer Bods (ID, Jan. 1, Wednesdays at 8) is a three-part series about “what happens when fitness gurus, body building experts and aerobics instructors turn from their diets and instead, turn deadly.” Sounds like an excellent theme for The Biggest Loser 2020.
Midnight Traveler (PBS, Monday, Dec. 30, at 10, and then streaming at POV.org) is a first-person documentary that follows “one family’s choices, anxieties and hopes as they try to survive deportation, a life in hiding, and the smuggling route to Europe,” according to PBS.
Nisman: Death of a Prosecutor (Netflix, Jan. 1) is about “a prosecutor who investigated the biggest attack against a Jewish community outside Israel since World War II—and met a violent and mysterious death,” according to Netflix.