Reality Preview: What’s Ahead for the Bachelorettes, Bruce Jenner, and 8 Other Unscripted Summer Series

Reality Preview
Craig Sjodin/ABC (2)
Reality Preview

Summer is the season for reality television; here’s what’s ahead for new and returning non-scripted TV, from double the Bachelorettes to Bruce Jenner’s docuseries:

The Bachelorette
Premieres Monday, May 18, 9/8c, ABC

For Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe—two high-profile castoffs from The Bachelor last season—returning to ABC’s popular matchmaking franchise as the Bachelorette could’ve been a dream come true. But reality TV is a fickle fairy godmother, so instead—psych!—the gals are reporting back to the mansion to compete for the role. “They both really wish that things had gone differently and they’d just been chosen,” acknowledges host Chris Harrison. Still, he insists that the idea of pitting the singletons against one another isn’t nearly as fiendish as it may sound. “We did it because nobody, from the fans to the producers, could decide between them!”

Now that task is falling to their potential suitors: The men will get to know Britt and Kaitlyn before voting for their pick. Exactly how awkward does that make, say, a cocktail party? “It’s uncomfortable,” says Britt. “I felt like it was obvious that some guys were there for Kaitlyn and some were there for me. I was trying not to keep a tally.” For her part, Kaitlyn strived to be as Zen as possible. “Britt and I are very different people,” she says. “I knew that if she stayed, then this wasn’t the right group of guys for me anyway.”

Thankfully, the verdict will be revealed sooner rather than later—and then we can all get on with the thorny business of whirlwind romances and mascara-drenched rose ceremonies. “Our show has always been about one person’s search for love, and we are not messing with the secret sauce,” promises Harrison, revealing that dream dates in New York, San Antonio, and Ireland are on the itinerary. As for the woman who’s sent packing? Production is still underway, but Harrison denies the speculation that she’ll be making a dramatic reentry later on in the process. “We’ll keep track of how she’s doing, but we wouldn’t want to bring her back into the mix to blow everything up. That would be odd,” he says with a chuckle. “Not that we are averse to odd.”


America’s Got Talent
Premieres Tuesday, May 26, 8/7c, NBC

America’s Got Talent—and if NBC’s hit reality competition is any indication, it’s in endless supply. “We’re still discovering things we’ve never seen before!” says Mel B., who’s gearing up, along with host Nick Cannon and fellow judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Howard Stern, for Season 10.

Among the standouts: a man able to swallow and regurgitate various substances. “He can bring sugar and salt back up without mixing them!” Mel says. And the sky is the limit—literally—when it comes to newly expanded outdoor stunts. (Think Jet Skis, pyrotechnics, and extreme heights.) “It was beyond my wildest imagination,” Mandel says. “If something went wrong, there wouldn’t be an identifiable piece of flesh left.”

Of course, singers, dancers, comedians, and magicians are also in the mix, but advancing now requires more than just belting out a Top 40 hit. Says Mandel, “In order to shine against some guy who’s hanging upside down by a toe balancing a dog on his chin, you’re gonna have to bring something special.”

Thanks to a fresh twist, that je ne sais quoi can be rewarded via the enhanced Golden Buzzer twist, which now allows for a member of the panel to send an act straight to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall. Another change? During the Judge Cuts round—formerly “boot camp”—the judges will be paired with celebrities, who will add their two cents. “Because this is our 10th anniversary, everything is bigger, wilder, and crazier,” says Mandel. “We’re doing more of every element that works on the show. The key word is more!”

And Don’t Miss

The Island
Premieres May 25, 10/9c, NBC
Survivalist guru Bear Grylls leaves 14 dudes on a deserted island to fend for themselves and, presumably, put a modern-day spin on Lord of the Flies.

Paley Center for Media

So You Think You Can Dance
Returns June 1, 8/7c, Fox
Paula Abdul and R&B star Jason Derulo join veteran judge Nigel Lythgoe to scour both stage and street in search of America’s top hotstepper.

Becoming Us
Premieres June 8, 9/8c, ABC Family
This new series follows Ben Lehwald, a 17-year-old from Evanston, Illinois, whose dad is transitioning from male to female.

Big Brother
Returns June 24, 8/7c, CBS
The 53 cameras and 97 microphones don’t lie—but the houseguests will! New contestants attempt to backstab their way to $500,000. Pray for their dignity.

Catfish: The TV Show
Returns July 8, 10/9c, MTV
Digital snoops Nev Schulman and Max Joseph crisscross the country delivering more bad news about who’s really lurking at the other end of people’s screens.

Million Dollar Listing San Francisco
Premieres July 8, 10/9c, Bravo
The latest spinoff of the popular franchise follows bigwig Realtors as they duke it out in the Bay Area market. Bet they’ve even got a bridge to sell ya!


Untitled Bruce Jenner Docuseries
Premieres July 26, 9/8c, E!
Cameras chronicle the reality-TV patriarch and Olympic gold medalist’s next chapter: living as a woman.

Bachelor in Paradise
Returns August 2, 8/7c, ABC
Colorful alums from the dating franchise take another shot at finding their soul mates and prove that they’re—say it with us now—”here for the right reasons.”