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Reality-TV Index

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



The Apprentice
NBC. Thursdays, 10 P.M.
The Premise: Wannabe CEOs jostle to kiss the Donald’s ring.

Should You Bother Watching? Maybe. The show’s stumbled since season one, and this season’s “street smart vs. book smart” conceit was a dud. But at least it returned the focus to a clash of corporate skills—so Trump’s trademark “you’re fired”s make actual business sense.


Project Greenlight
Bravo. Thursdays, 10 P.M.
The Premise: Neophyte filmmakers jostle to kiss Matt Damon’s and Ben Affleck’s rings.

Should You Bother Watching? Yes. It’s a satisfyingly insider-ish—i.e., bleak—look at how business really gets done in Hollywood. And if you tune in for producers and best-friends-forever Matt and Ben, you’ll stay for their partner Chris Moore, who crushes dreams with a satisfying efficiency.


The Contender
NBC. Sundays, 8 P.M.
The Premise: Sixteen aspiring boxers duke it out for a $1 million purse. Sylvester Stallone stands in for Trump.

Should You Bother Watching? Sure. With this show, producer Mark Burnett KOs the Fox rip-off that aired earlier this year, The Next Great Champ. But these woebegone contestants will only truly hold your interest if you enjoy watching people tell tear-jerking stories, then punch each other in the face.


PoweR Girls
MTV. Thursdays, 10:30 P.M.
The Premise: Follow the adventures of four comely young publicists, with Lizzie Grubman as their den mother.

Should You Bother Watching? No, unless you’re a Schadenfreude junkie or a Grubmanalia completist. The carefully managed show doesn’t offer much warts-and-all exposure; instead, you have to settle for stingy tidbits, like when junior publicist Millie mumbles that Star Jones is a “bitch.”


The Starlet
WB. Tuesdays, 9 P.M.
The Premise: Ten fresh-faced ladies claw their way to stardom—or, more specifically, to a walk-on role on One Tree Hill. Seriously, that’s the prize.

Should You Bother Watching? No, unless you find the similarly formatted and much-superior America’s Next Top Model too fast-paced and confusing.


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