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The 22 reality TV shows premiering this week: Top Chef, Wipeout, Challenge: All Stars, and more

Hello, fellow reality TV-watchers. There is a bounty of great reality television headed our way this week: new shows, old shows coming back with new seasons, and revivals of old shows.

Altogether, more than 20 premieres—and a bunch of documentaries, too.

Let me start with what I am most looking forward to, because after this past year, what I most want—besides unabashed silliness—is kindness and warmth. More of that arrives with season four of The Great Pottery Throw Down (HBO Max, Thursday), which first aired in the UK last fall.

If you haven’t seen the first three seasons, they’re on HBO Max now. Think Great British Bake-Off, but actually better than GBBO’s recent seasons.

Another talent competition returns Thursday: Top Chef Portland (Bravo, Thursdays at 8) has 15 chefs competing and being judged by Padma, Tom, and Gail—plus a rotating panel of “all-star winners, finalists and favorites.”

Look for my interview with the show’s producers later this week.

The Challenge: All-Stars (Paramount+, Thursdays) brings back 22 people who once were on The Challenge (or more recently) and came from Real World and Road Rules (mostly). I’ll have a review Thursday.

Someone died after running the new Wipeout course, but the revival of the former ABC show continued filming, and premieres this week (TBS, Thursdays at 9). Hosting/commenting in this new version are Nailed It’s Nicole Byer and American Grit’s John Cena. Here’s my review of TBS’s Wipeout.

Couples Retreat (VH1, Mondays at 8) brings together six celebrity couples for what VH1 calls a show “celebrating Black love” with discussions of “the challenges and triumphs of their relationships, navigating the complex waters of love, heartache and communication.”

Pooch Perfect judge Lisa Vanderpump with with what I assume is a dog
Pooch Perfect judge Lisa Vanderpump with with what I assume is a dog. (Photo by Christopher Willard/ABC)

HBO Max premiered the dog grooming competition Haute Dog last year, and now ABC is joining with Pooch Perfect (ABC, Tuesdays at 8), hosted by Rebel Wilson and Lisa Vanderpump.

I’ll have a review of both shows on Tuesday—and I’ll be on the podcast Extra Hot Great talking about it, and other TV, in an episode that should drop Wednesday.

The Amazing Race’s producers filmed another race-around-the-world competition a year and a half ago, and it’s finally airing. Race to the Center of the Earth (National Geographic, Mondays at 10) follows four teams who all race to one central point.

Shows returning for new seasons this week include:

  • Ready to Love (OWN, Fridays at 9)
  • Pit Bulls & Parolees (Discovery, Saturdays at 8), which moves Tia Torres’ rescue efforts from Animal Planet to Discovery Channel
  • If We Built It Today (Science, Sundays at 10)
  • All-Round Champion (BYUtv, Tuesdays at 8)
  • Unsellable Houses (HGTV, Tuesdays at 9)
  • Running Wild with Bear Grylls (National Geographic, Mondays at 9), which premieres with Anthony Mackie, aka Falcon from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
  • Prank Encounters (Netflix, Thursday)

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen hosts a spin-off of the David Bromstad show, which is called My Lottery Dream Home International (HGTV, Fridays at 8).

Notorious Queens (ALLBLK, Thursday) “follows four women who have been labeled ‘notorious’ due to their past romantic relationships,” according to the streaming service, which used to be called Urban Movie Channel. 

Black Ink Crew reunites its casts from three cities for three specials. Black Ink Crew: Confessions (VH1, Mondays at 9) will feature New York Monday, Compton on April 5, and Chicago April 12.

This book about stories our clothes tell becomes a Netflix series with the same title: Worn Stories (Netflix, Thursday), while items are restored on The Laundry Guy (Discovery+, Wednesday).

K-Pop Evolution (YouTube, Wednesday) tells the story of the genre and industry.

My Grandparents’ War (PBS, Sundays at 8 starting April 4) follows actors Helena Bonham Carter, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mark Rylance, and Carey Mulligan as they “re-trace the footsteps of their grandparents and learn about the challenges they faced during World War II,” according to PBS.

Speaking of World War II: In 1946, in South Carolina, police attacked and permanently blinded a Black World War II veteran who was on his way home after being discharged from the Army—racial violence that is responsible for “jumpstarting the civil rights movement,” according to PBS’s description of The Blinding of Isaac Woodard, which tells that story (PBS, Tuesday, March 30, at 9).

Sir David Attenborough narrates Extinction: The Facts (PBS, Wednesday, March 31, at 8), a documentary which focuses “on what extinction and biodiversity loss mean, not just for the planet, but for us as a species,” PBS says.

Magical Andes (Netflix, April 1) is the second season of the documentary series bout the mountain chain, while Expedition Deep Open (Discovery+, April 1) follows a team that explores the bottom of all five oceans.

The Devil You Know (Vice, Mondays at 10) looks at the cult leader Sherry J. Shriner, and Moment of Truth (IMDb TV, Friday) is about the murder of a father in North Carolina and the aftermath.

The Last Cruise (HBO, Tuesday, March 30, at 9) is a short documentary using footage from passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was one of the earliest epicenters of C0VID-19.

American Cartel (Discovery+, Tuesday, March 30) focuses on how the murder of a police officer led to “an international manhunt … and the discovery of the Mexican Cartel’s infiltration of a Unites States street gang,” Discovery says.

The Place that Makes Us (WORLD, Tuesday, March 30, at 8) focuses on young community leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, who “envision a new future and rebuild their neighborhoods,” WORLD Channel said.

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn (Hulu, Friday) tells the story of “the rise and fall of one of the biggest corporate flameouts and venture capitalist bubbles in recent years,” Hulu says.

Hysterical (FX, Friday, April 2, at 9) follows female stand-ups, and offers what FX says is “an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women.”

That’s everything on my list—and that’s quite a lot! Enjoy whatever you might watch from this list or from other recent reality TV premieres.

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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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