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This week’s reality TV premieres, from Holey Moley to Love After Lockup

It’s not summer without fun summer shows, and the king of those returns this week: Holey Moley, which has the ridiculous season-three title of Holey Moley 3D in 2D (ABC, Thursdays at 8, then Thursadys at 9). Later this week, look for my behind-the-scenes story about this season, and what’s changed (new holes!) and what has not (people bouncing off things alongside legitimate mini-golf competition).

To my mind, there’s no better reality competition on TV right now than Top Chef Portland, and that’s in part because of the rotating panel of alumni. This week, two Top Chef alum who are not on this season (thankfully) get their own show: Bryan and Michael Voltaggio’s Battle of the Brothers (Discovery+, Thursday) has the brothers leading teams of contestants who will be competing in “a culinary gauntlet.”

ABC’s retro game shows add The Celebrity Dating Game (ABC, Mondays at 10), hosted by Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton, with celebrities picking a “lucky suitor” from an unseen panel. Among the celebrities are Iggy Azalea, Hannah Brown, Carson Kressley, and Nicole Byer. Speaking of televised relationships: TLC is premiering a show about five couples, each of which has an ex hanging around: You, Me & My Ex (TLC, Sundays at 10).

Returning for new seasons this week:

  • The Hustler (ABC, Thursdays at 10), which I’ll be watching to see if they’ve modified the format
  • Card Sharks (ABC, Wednesdays at 10)
  • BBQ Brawl (Food Network, Mondays at 9), on which Eddie Jackson will join Bobby Flay and Michael Symon as a team captain
  • Renovation Island (HGTV, Sundays at 8)
  • Love After Lockup (WEtv, Fridays at 9)
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos: Animal Edition (NatGeo Wild, Sundays at 8)
  • Homestead Rescue (Discovery, Thursdays at 8)
  • Hot Mess House (HGTV, Thursdays at 8)

Two new animal-focused shows premiere this week: When Nature Calls (ABC, Thursdays at 8), on which comedians dub over nature footage, and which looks positively horrible from the promos, and Penguin Town (Netflix, Wednesday), which focuses on a group of African penguins.

In each episode of The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals (Netflix, Friday), three experts—including Million Dollar Listing New York’s Luis Ortiz—travel to a location, and show off three spectacular short-term rentals. For other real estate reality TV, there are these two new shows:

  1. Two Steps Home (HGTV, Wednesdays at 9), on which Jon Pierre and Mary Tjon-Joe-Pin help their clients sell a house and buy a new one.
  2. The House My Wedding Bought (Discovery+, Wednesday), which has designer Breegan Jane helping couples buy a house and be able to afford their weddings, and since that is a choice people are making it’s very clear that wedding prices are out of control.

In documentary specials and features, The Housewife and the Hustler (Hulu, Monday) is an ABC News special about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Erika Jayne and her ex-husband Thomas Girardi, and the “real-life legal scandal” he’s embroiled in.

The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew cast member Joanie Laurer is profiled in the documentary Vice Versa: Chyna (Vice, Thursday, June 17, at 9) is billed as “the authorized and first ever documentary about the rise and fall of one of wrestling’s most fascinating figures.”

River City Drumbeat (PBS, Friday) follows a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, while Bob Ballard: An Explorer’s Life(National Geographic Channel, Monday, June 14, at 10) profiles the man who discovered the Titanic and the Bismarck, among other accomplishments.

A documentary about the Tulsa massacre, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer, premieres this week (National Geographic, Friday, June 18, at 9, and Hulu, Saturday). That was a story that wasn’t told for decades. A story that’s told very differently is the subject of Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are) (Peacock, Thursday), which will be “exploring how Americans tell the story of their Civil War,” according to a press release.

Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America (History, Saturday, June 19, at 8) is narrated by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and “explores the people, protests and movements that shaped our societies, laws and culture, and that played an important role in making our country better,” according to History Channel

Nasarin (Hulu, Tuesday) was “secretly filmed in Iran,” according to Hulu, and is “an immersive portrait of courageous human rights activist and political prisoner.”

A production of Rent in Cuba—”the country’s first Broadway musical produced by an American company in more than 50 years,” HBO says—is the subject of Revolution Rent (HBO, Tuesday, June 15, at 9).

The Real Manhunter (Acorn, Monday) has a former detective sharing details from murder cases he investigated, while My Name Is Bulger (Discovery+, Thursday) claims to be “the story of a unique American family who crave to be judged for who they are and what they’ve done, not what their infamous relative did,” according to Discovery.

That’s everything on my list! Enjoy whatever reality TV and docs you 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.