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A new Top Gear America and other reality shows premiering this week

A new Top Gear America and other reality shows premiering this week

Good morning! I just read that today is the 131st anniversary of the journalist Nellie Bly returning to New Jersey, having traveled around the world in 72 days—faster than Jules Verne’s fictional character made the trip.

Bly wrote about her trip; who would have thought that, 111 years later, in 2001, people would start traveling around the world for a reality TV show. And who would have thought, just one year ago, that we’d soon be living in a time when The Amazing Race couldn’t be filmed. Alas!

Other shows have been able to be filmed recently, even if they were delayed, and so we have a dozen reality shows premiering this week, along with some one-off documentaries. So, I’ll end this brief trip into history and get on with the preview of this week’s reality TV debuts.

Rehab Addict’s Nicole Curtis helps other people who are stuck with their renovations on her new show Rehab Addict Rescue (HGTV, Thursdays at 9).

Southern Charm starts its two-part reunion (Bravo, Thursday, Jan. 28, at 9), and follows it with a “Secrets Revealed” special with new footage.

We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (Netflix, Friday) follows a football program for kids in Brooklyn.

Next weekend, a new documentary series follows “the audacious story of Elizabeth Carmichael,” as HBO describes it. The Lady and the Dale (HBO, Sundays at 9) is about “her promotion of a fuel-efficient, three-wheeled car known as The Dale.”

The third incarnation of Top Gear America premieres this week.

The first was cancelled by History in 2016 after six seasons, and the second aired just one season on BBC America in 2017.

When Top Gear America returns, it’ll have new hosts Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry, and Jethro Bovingdon, and be on a subscription-only streaming app (Motor Trend App, Fridays).

Also returning for new seasons:

  • Love & Marriage: Huntsville (OWN, Saturdays at 9)
  • Teen Mom OG (MTV, Tuesdays at 8)
  • ATL Homicide (TV One, Mondays at 9)
  • Heartland Docs, DVM (NatGeo Wild, Saturdays at 10)
  • The Great Escapists (Amazon, Friday).
  • The Misery Index (TBS, Tuesdays at 10:30)
  • To Tell the Truth (ABC, Tuesdays at 8)

Isolation to Creation (All Arts, Wednesdays at 8) follows artists in “bubble residencies,” which were created “for artists to safely gather, create and perform together again,” and the series takes us “into the bubbles and behind the scenes to experience the hope, joy, exhilarating physical struggle, and emotional challenges experienced by performers returning to the studio and stage,” according to WNET.

Here are the feature documentaries premiering this week, some of which will also be streaming, free, for a limited time:

  • The Wendy Williams Story…What a Mess! (Lifetime, Saturday, Jan. 30, at 10) tells the talk show host’s story—well, she tells her own story, as she “speaks directly to the camera, discussing every inch of joy and humiliation she has experienced since childhood,” Lifetime says. It follows a scripted movie called Wendy Williams: The Movie (8 p.m.).
  • Lidia Celebrates America (PBS, Friday, Feb. 29, at 10) follows celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich as she “travels across the country visiting the men and women serving on the front lines,” according to PBS.
  • The Mole Agent (PBS, Monday, Jan. 25, at 9:30, and streaming at pov.org) follows a private investigator who’s sent undercover in a nursing home.
  • Frontline describes its new documentary Trump’s American Carnage (PBS, Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 10) as “the inside story of how Trump’s presidency laid the groundwork for bitter division, violence and insurrection.”
  • Forgotten Genius (PBS, Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 9) is a rebroadcast of the documentary About Percy Julian, the scientist who was born the grandson of slaves and “[rose] to the highest levels of scientific and personal achievement, overcoming countless obstacles to become a world-class scientist, a self-made millionaire, and a civil-rights pioneer,” according to Nova. It’ll also be streaming on YouTube and at PBS.org.

That’s everything that was on my list. Enjoy whatever you choose to watch this week!

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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. Learn more about Andy.

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