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Reality-TV Index

A recurring guide to which shows are on the rise and which are about to crash.

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PROJECT RUNWAY 2

The Premise
Sixteen aspiring designers get snippy over fabric and trade more bitchy quips than the male models in Zoolander.

Should You Bother Watching?
Definitely. This show is Meltdown City, and this year, contestant Andrae is the mayor. The arrogant Santino isn’t quite the villain that last season’s odious Wendy Pepper was, but his bitchy impersonation of judge Michael Kors has been deliciously spot-on.



STUNT JUNKIES

The Premise
X-Games–type dudes challenge themselves with complicated tricks, such as skydiving from one plane into another.

Should You Bother Watching?
Sure, if you dig extreme sports—or PBS. Though the stunts themselves are exciting, the setups are dully educational. (Watching a landing ramp get built is not good TV.) Still, the helmet-cam view of an ATV backflipping over a moving train is pretty cool.



THERE & BACK

The Premise
Former boy-bander Ashley Parker Angel attempts a comeback while living with his pregnant girlfriend—and her mom.

Should You Bother Watching?
Alas, no. It should be entertaining, given Ashley’s ineptitude in grocery shopping (he’s paralyzed by the potato selection) and roommate etiquette (Mom sees his “morning wood”). But the show’s a bore—and a little sad. Even his girlfriend doesn’t seem to like him.



THE BACHELOR: PARIS

The Premise
Nashville ER doctor Travis Stork winnows a field of 25 aggressively made-up single girls down to the chosen one.

Should You Bother Watching?
Maybe. By this point, you know the drill—soft-focus camerawork, more candles than a soap-opera wedding, and roses, roses, roses. But now the show’s producers seem self-aware about these hoary excesses—and are reveling a bit in the wink-wink campiness of it all.



DANCING WITH THE STARS 2

The Premise
It’s American Idol, if it had D-list celebrities as contestants, and instead of singing, everyone does the quickstep.

Should You Bother Watching?
No. Based on the bizarre popularity of the series’ first outing, ABC believes you have two and a half hours a week for pointless filler, confessional interviews, and random live musical performers (Jesse McCartney?!). Trust us. You don’t. Quickstep away from the TV.


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