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A Summer of Alternatives

The summer schedules of the U.S. broadcast networks are awash with entertainment shows, from lighthearted games to talent competitions to juicy reality fare.

Singles, celebs, dancing and app-inspired gameplay are just some of what viewers can expect to see within the new spate of alternative series.

Jennifer Lopez is heating up the small screen this summer as a judge and executive producer on the brand-new competition show World of Dance on NBC. The network also has the returning schedule staple America’s Got Talent, which this time around sees Tyra Banks as host. American Ninja Warrior, based on the Japanese megahit, is back as well. NBC continues to bet big on game shows, with The Wall and Hollywood Game Night both returning.

ABC has the iconic game show The $100,000 Pyramid, which once again features an all-star cast of celebrities. A celebrity version of Family Feud returns to the network in prime time this summer for a third season. To Tell the Truth, a reimagining of the beloved game show of the same name, is back with new episodes, also featuring a panel of celebs. The network is bringing back Bachelor in Paradise with a bevy of fan favorites from the long-running The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises. New on the scene is Boy Band, in which talented singers battle it out to become a member of the next great music sensation. Mark Burnett has a fresh entry to ABC’s summer fray with Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME, a seed-funding competition reality series in which two budding entrepreneurs go head-to-head to win over a live studio audience to fund their ideas, products or companies. The Gong Show is making a comeback, watching as a revolving panel of judges featuring Hollywood stars praise, critique and gong contestants.

While CBS does have some event dramas set for the summer, the network is looking to make a splash with its new prime-time game show Candy Crush, inspired by the mobile game that became a worldwide phenomenon. Big Brother remains a stalwart hit and is coming back for what will be its 19th season.

Another app-inspired show, Beat Shazam, has made its way to FOX’s summer lineup. Jamie Foxx hosts the interactive game show, which riffs off of the mobile song-identification application. Gordon Ramsay’s got a new live cooking series, The F Word, along with another season of MasterChef on the network. A newcomer to the FOX summer slate, the competition format Superhuman—originally produced by Endemol Shine Germany and adapted in countries such as France, Brazil, China and Italy—will be testing the limits of ordinary people with extraordinary talents. American Grit will once again see WWE superstar John Cena putting contestants through a military-style boot camp. Also returning to the network this summer is So You Think You Can Dance, which will head into its 14th cycle. Love Connection, the classic dating game show that won over legions of viewers throughout the ’80s and ’90s, was revived by FOX and placed in prime time. The network’s alternative-heavy summer lineup is already delivering, too. The debuts of Love Connection and Beat Shazam helped FOX claim its first Thursday night win since April 7 of last year, which was the series finale of American Idol.

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at



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