Good evening! We’re almost halfway through July, and more than halfway through this year. This week will bring us 10 new reality shows or new seasons of old reality shows, plus several documentaries.
The debuts this week include a brand-new streaming service, because the world is in need of one right now. So let’s get to your preview of those premieres.
First, concluding this week is Labor of Love (Fox, Thursday at 9), which was like The Bachelor except with pregnancy and a relationship as the ridiculous goal of a reality TV dating series. Alas, the Survivor alum who made the top three was sent home last episode.
Married at First Sight has somehow reached season 11 already, and moves to a new city, New Orleans, to matchmake five couples and see whether or not they’ll get divorced, and to see how much copy they can generate for gossip magazines (Lifetime, Wednesdays at 8).
Meanwhile, another show about arranged marriages will premiere on Netflix: Indian Matchmaking (Netflix, Thursday), which has an actual matchmaker pairing couples.
A comedic reality/fiction hybrid from the UK, Killer Camp, comes to the U.S. this week (The CW, Thursdays at 8).
I’ll have a review of the show on Thursday; it takes 11 people from Britain and sends them to an American summer camp, where they find out they’ll be pretend-murdered one by one until they identify which among them is the killer.
A new docuseries that’s being compared to both Crazy Rich Asians and Keeping Up with the Kardashians is House of Ho (HBO Max, Thursday). It follows the Ho family in Houston, and what HBO Max describe as “their lavish Houston lifestyle and “multi-generational outrageous drama.”
Also this week, Netflix gets into the surgery reality show space with Skin Decision: Before and After (Netflix, Wednesday).
And people call in to get advice from celebrities on the remotely filmed Celebrity Call Center (E!, Mondays at 10).
A new streaming service, Peacock, launches Wednesday, and it launches with two unscripted originals:
- In Deep with Ryan Lochte (Peacock, Wednesday), which follows his post-Celebrity Big Brother and Dancing with the Stars time as he “is hoping for one more chance to make Team USA and prove he’s not the same man he was four years ago,” according to the network.
- Lost Speedways (Peacock, Wednesday), which is hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr and says it will “tell the stories of speedways that have been forgotten, abandoned, and overtaken by nature.”
The computer game The Sims has led to a reality show competition called The Sims Spark’d (TBS, Fridays at 11), on which TBS says “players will compete in both skills and elimination challenges.”
Returning for new seasons this week:
- Love After Lockup (WEtv, Fridays at 9)
- United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell (CNN, Sundays at 10).
I can’t stop thinking of the 2004 Bravo reality series Showbiz Moms & Dads when I see the title of a new documentary film: Showbiz Kids (HBO, Tuesday, July 14, at 9).
Besides the similar titles, they have similar subject matter: “an unvarnished look at the high risk, high reward business of working as a child actor in the entertainment industry” and “the personal and professional price of fame and failure on a child,” according to HBO.
NatGeo’s version of Shark Week, which is called Shark Fest, launches Sunday with World’s Biggest Tiger Shark? (National Geographic Channel, Sunday, July 19, at 8), which follows a marine biologist and cinematographer as they film a large tiger shark in French Polynesia. (I’ll have the rest of the schedule in next week’s preview.)
PBS describes One Upon a Time in Iraq (PBS, Tuesday, July 14, at 9) as a “portrait of the Iraq war as you’ve never seen it before,” since it’s “told by Iraqis who lived through” it.
Two documentaries premiere on Netflix on Tuesday: The Business of Drugs, which follows “former CIA officer Amaryllis Fox [who] investigates the economics of six illicit substances,” and On Est Ensemble (We Are One) which follows activists (who’ve faced violence as they’ve attempted to create change) as they came together to create a music video, “Solidarité.”
Snapped: Betty Broderick (Oxygen, Wednesday, July 15, at 8) tells the story of Broderick, who killed her ex-husband and his wife in 1989.
Conjoined Twins: Inseperable (TLC, Thursday, July 16, at 10) follows Carmen and Lupita, who share a body but have two separate lives, as they head to college.