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Hoarders live was gross, and not because of the trash

Hoarders has often been accused of sensationalizing and/or exploiting its subjects and their mental illness. I think the opposite is true, and I’ve long championed it and defended it, writing about it extensively, because it was strong reality television and an important series. In the six seasons that aired on A&E before it was cancelled, …

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Bullseye is fun, but it’s really Fear Factor light

Let’s not pretend: Fox’s Bullseye is Fear Factor. It looks like Fear Factor, with the same southern California desert locations. It has the same prize, $50,000. It has the same episodic structure, with people being eliminated after each of three challenges. It has the same explosions signaling the successful completion of the big challenge. This …

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In its 10th year, America’s Got Talent has its best start ever

America’s Got Talent started its 10th season last night, and in its first four hours, had what I think is its strongest, most watchable start yet. From its judges’ chemistry–Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Mel B work exceptionally well together–to its truly strong acts, the show is off to a good start. And …

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First thoughts about NBC’s The Island

NBC continued its obsession with Bear Grylls by debuting his latest series last night: The Island. The show has aired two seasons in the UK, and doesn’t exactly break new ground. Actually, the first episode was very reminiscent of two better series: Naked and Afraid, which does survival television perfectly. Part of its formula is that …

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A dramatic reunion and satisfying finale ends a rocky Survivor

At the very end of an incredibly dramatic and overly rushed Survivor Worlds Apart live finale and reunion, Jeff Probst told viewers, “Thank you for your loyalty, even when you don’t like everyone.” You’re welcome, Jeff Probst. And thank you for shepherding a production that remains truly exceptional. The evidence of the show’s quality was …

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A satisfying battle of twists at Tribal Council, an amazing Ponderosa

Two dramatic challenges, one thrilling Tribal Council. That’s what Survivor Worlds Apart delivered last night, along with two solid challenges. And just wait until you see what happened when Dan got to Ponderosa. We had an unexpected episode of The Jeff Probst Show before the reward challenge, this time to focus on Rodney’s birthday boo-hoo …

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Survivor’s best season ever focuses on birthday temper tantrum

You know a season of Survivor is in trouble when the most noteworthy, sustained thing is someone whining about not being given a reward because it’s their birthday. Yet that’s what filled up a significant part of Survivor Worlds Apart: Rodney’s bizarre entitlement and whining about “a bunch of scumbags who neglected me on my …

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