It's easy to forget, in the rush of all these fictional shows popping up on the networks this fall, that there's a new crop of so-called "reality" or unscripted series coming along, too. Considering that some of TV's highest-rated shows fall in this category, it's an odd mistake to make. So we're taking time right now to offer:
The top 5 questions we're asking about reality TV this fall
-1 What to watch: So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing with the Stars?
For the first time, two of network TV's biggest dance shows will start at close to the same time, with Fox's SYTYCD moving from summertime to fall, debuting last Wednesday. Conventional wisdom says the kids tune into Fox's show, while their parents and grandma watch former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay embarrass himself on ABC's Dancing, which starts Sept. 21.
-2 Will Biggest Loser finally push a contestant too far?
Fitness trainers have complained that NBC's weight-loss competition asks too much of its obese participants too fast. Their words seem prophetic during the show's Tuesday debut when two contestants land in the hospital after a mile run.
-3 Is Jay Leno really the future of television?
Time magazine says Leno will set the future of network TV, whether his new 10 p.m. show succeeds or fails after tonight's debut. Which means the future of TV looks an awful lot like the Tonight Show, according to two guys from comedy.com who snuck into a test show and saw the same monologue, celebrity interviews and band from Leno's old late night show.
-4 Can America's Got Talent make a splash as fall TV season kicks off?
NBC's talent show America's Got Talent presents its finale Wednesday, providing blessed relief from host Nick Cannon's hopeless mugging, talent that seems better suited to wedding receptions and future performances by judge David Hasselhoff.
-5 Can they give an Emmy for best performance by a loser?
As the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards airs Sunday, watch for the expressions of performers who don't win on the split screens. That's where you'll see the best acting by thespians handed the biggest disappointment of their careers.
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Dollar amounts in millions
1 Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, $24.03
2 9, $10.9
3 Inglourious Basterds, $6.5
4 All About Steve, $5.8
5 The Final Destination, $5.5
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Top 5 prime time TV shows
1 America's Got Talent, Tues. (NBC)
2 America's Got Talent, Wed. (NBC)
3 NCIS (CBS)
4 Two and a Half Men (CBS)
5 The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Source: Nielsen Media Research for week ending Sept. 6
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Top 5 search terms on Yahoo
1 Kathy Griffin
2 September 11
3 Tyler Perry
4 Pittsburgh Steelers
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Top 5 songs on iTunes
1 Party in the U.S.A., Miley Cyrus
2 Down, Jay Sean (feat. Lil Wayne)
3 I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas
4 Whatcha Say, Jason DeRulo
5 Run This Town, Jay-Z (feat. Rihanna and Kanye West)