Happy (almost) New Year! I hope your year is ending well, whether that’s with holiday celebrations or equally festive quiet time.
I try to take daily walks, whether in the neighborhood or in nature, and while I don’t always have time to do that every day during the holidays, I did have time to take another end-of-the-year stroll through reality blurred’s archives to remind myself about what we’d watched and what I’d written about during the past 12 months.
From that, I selected 22 stories—interviews, recaps, profiles, and features—that stood out. As I’ve already highlighted my favorite reality TV of 2022, I didn’t include full reviews.
The stories below cover everything from The Mole to Holey Moley, American Ninja Warrior to Adam Ruins Everything. While writing and reporting these stories, I learned about how some of our favorite shows are made, connected with people who make and watch TV, and sometimes just entertained myself—and, I hope, you!
Thanks for watching and reading with me this year, and I look forward to more great reality TV and conversation in 2023!
22 of my favorite reality TV stories from 2022
My favorite writing about reality TV and reality shows from 2022, including behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, recaps, profiles, and features.
I hope my writing is entertaining, but writing this really entertained me. Even looking at the stock photo I chose still makes me laugh. I hope this review and/or the show brought you as much joy!
The Real World turned 30 in 2022, and I went back to look at what people said about the show three decades earlier, at the dawn of the modern era of reality TV.
What was a simple request that I was glad to agree to led instead to me publishing this ludicrous contract.
The production company behind Big Brother wanted me to sign it in exchange for using a headline from reality blurred on their newest show, and it revealed just how much producers and networks ask people to give away just for the tiniest bit of exposure.
This was an update to a 2011 story: a long-running mystery from The Great Food Truck Race that was finally solved.
I was thrilled to have The Mole back on TV, and even more thrilled to have a conversation with its executive producer about the new season, the parts that I wasn't as thrilled about, and a season two (I hope!).
Top Chef’s Restaurant Wars episodes are often a highlight, and starting with this hilariously elegant sign, the Top Chef Houston version was an all-time-great version.
I didn't love Survivor 43. But what I continue to love about Survivor is how we all watch the same show and have completely different reactions, as the Internet discussion—including the comments on my finale recap here—illustrated.
The Challenge: USA was an enjoyable season with an absolute shitshow of a finale—and then we learned what really happened behind the scenes.
Being able to talk to some of the people who made one of the best seasons of TV in reality television history, and documenting their work and stories, was an absolute privilege. Even if you haven't seen The Mole (!!), I hope you read this.
I love celebrating the best of reality TV, and Carla Hall is one of my all-time-favorite personalities, so it was a pleasure to look back at her time on reality TV and her growing role at Food Network.
The claims about Love is Blind in this lawsuit are fascinating—and they also raise questions about the entire reality TV industry.
I love a reality TV contract, and also a reality TV star who's willing to talk about the new and old, good and bad.
In this interview, which includes The Profit]s contract, Marcus Lemonis talked to me about lawsuits related to the CNBC show, and then we discussed his new HGTV show.
Speaking of dumb things that made me laugh: just the AI-generated images of Survivor and Jeff Probst are hilarious, but the AI engine proclaiming Ben the winner of season 41 was oddly prescient, at least in terms of predicting a controversial winner.
I love Shark Tank, and I love when reality TV shows try new things, but I did not love this!
Revisiting Instant Hotel season one for the third time was a joy, and I hope you had a chance to watch before it left Netflix.
I wasn't thrilled with the theme for this season of Holey Moley, but holy shit was its finale spectacular! And its winner was both great TV and great fun to talk to in this interview.
Squid Game became a phenomenon, so I guess a reality TV version is inevitable. But still: really?!
Adam Conover revealed how his truTV show was cancelled—which ended up being a prescient preview of what was to come at Warner Bros. Discovery.
American Ninja Warrior is a summer staple, and quite a machine. But
HGTV Design Star winner Kim Myles and her work were back on TV, and when I thrilled to interview her about her new show.
Music is so integral to reality TV shows, and I appreciated learning about how the composer of Cold Justice and other shows, Robert ToTeras, created a distinctive soundtrack for this 100-episode-old show.
I was curious about how things worked behind the scenes of my favorite Food Network competition, Tournament of Champions, and its producer answered all of my questions.