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Take a brain break this summer and relish the delightful drama of these reality shows

Shaun Harrison
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1 of 21 CBS

Big Brother 13 (CBS)

Premieres: Thursday, July 7, 9/8c Even after 12 seasons, we still can't get enough of this Survivor-meets-The Real World show. Contestants live in a camera-rigged house where they backstab, yell at and sleep with fellow competitors until one lucky player walks away with $500,000. The premise rarely changes, but it always delivers grade-A trashy drama.
2 of 21 Jeff Neira/Fox

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

Premiered: Thursday, May 26, 8/7c A summertime treat for several years now, it's nice to turn to a competition show that isn't about singing … or dancing in ball gowns. Year in and year out, we're constantly amazed by the passion and the artistry in the finalists' dance routines. (There's a reason this show has won several Emmys for choreography.) Now if only we could find a way to lower the volume on Mary Murphy's mic.
3 of 21 Trae Patton/NBC

America's Got Talent (NBC)

Premiered: Tuesday, May 31, 8/7c While we'd love to say we only watch this show to see people embarrass themselves, we almost always get caught up in those moments when an unassuming contestant completely blows us away. (Call it the Susan Boyle effect.) Who will be this year's standout? And will Piers Morgan and Howie Mandel break into a fistfight? These are the questions that keep us coming back all summer long.
4 of 21 mystyle

Jerseylicious (The Style Network)

Premiered: Sunday, May 15, 8/7c If Jersey Shore is basically a live-action cartoon, Jerseylicious is a cartoon of a cartoon. It outlines the Jersey stereotypes it celebrates in heavy eyeliner and is far enough removed from reality to be absurd. And people clearly wanted more, as Jerseylicious is in its third season, enjoying the best ratings Style has ever seen. The action takes place at the Gatsby Salon, NJ, where principals Olivia and Tracy pretty people up while making ugly faces at each other. The drama ranges from de rigueur (double-crossing dudes!) to utterly superficial (a disagreement over eye makeup during the reunion found Tracy leaving the stage in a tantrum). There's so-bad-it's-good and then there's so-bad-it's-mesmerizing. Jerseylicious falls square into the latter category, and we wouldn't want it any other way.
5 of 21 Tyler Golden/Oxygen

The Glee Project (Oxygen)

Premieres: Sunday, June 12, 9/8c As if there wasn't enough Glee in the world, now the producers expand the Lady Gaga-lovin', Fleetwood Mac-singing universe to find the next star of the Fox series — at least, for seven episodes next season.
6 of 21 Tommy Garcia/Bravo

Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo)

Premiered: Monday, May 16 at 9/8c As Housewives fans know all too well, the first ladies of Bravo love to talk. However, few are willing to come to blows and mud-sling in front of the cameras like our favorite Jersey girls (apologies, Snooki). We know in theory that table-flipping, weave-pulling and pushing Andy Cohen around is unacceptable behavior, yet we can't help but pay very close attention (your welcome, Teresa) to see what these loose cannons will do next.
7 of 21 Isaac Brekken/ABC

The Bachelorette (ABC)

Premiered: Monday, May 23, 8/7c Nothing says summer like a group of men competing against each other for one woman's love and affection. Sip cocktails as you watch Ashley and her suitors have glamorous dates in Vegas before heading to exotic Thailand and gorgeous Fiji.
8 of 21 Greg Zabilski/ABC

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (ABC)

Premiered: Monday, May 30, 10/9c The latest spin-off from the Extreme Makeover series, this reality show follows people on their one-year journey to transform their bodies. If you're the least bit anxious to sport your bikini or swim trunks, let the participants' hard work, dedication, and insane workouts inspire you to stay fit for that summer heat — or at least put down that second ice cream cone.
9 of 21 Nicole Wilder/Bravo

Platinum Hit (Bravo)

Premiered: Monday, May 30, 10/9c With Platinum Hit, Bravo has imported the process of songwriting into its tried-and-true reality competition template of novices making it work under pressure. While watching people write might sound more tedious than watching paintings dry (we see you, Work of Art!), Platinum Hit may be the most immediately satisfying show of this type that Bravo has done. By having eccentric songwriters forced to rattle off what's in their head in hook form under a tight deadline, we get to experience the absurdity of rushed creativity firsthand. It makes for an experience that isn't just hilarious or interesting from a process perspective. Imagine getting to taste the food on Top Chef, or wear the creations on Project Runway and you have an idea of how satisfying the Platinum Hit experience can be.
10 of 21 Evans Vestal Ward/Bravo

Million Dollar Decorators (Bravo)

Premiered: Tuesday, May 31, 10/9c Doesn't the title say it all? If you like Flipping Out, you'll soon become addicted to this five-person team of high-end decorators and their fussy clients. (Sample disaster: "Those are antique tiles — they can't be replaced!") Look for the Osbournes and Lance Bass to pop up, too. Bonus!
11 of 21 Trae Patton/NBC

Love in the Wild (NBC)

Premieres: Wednesday, June 29, 10/9c Because reality dating shows have such a great track record, this show is going to give would-be couples actual troubles. We're talking about crocodiles, waterfalls and bat guano. What more can 20 singles want to create that special, lasting bond? Oh yes, the fear of nationwide, televised rejection. Bring it.
12 of 21 Adam Taylor/Oxygen

The World According to Paris (Oxygen)

Premieres: Wednesday, June 1, 10/9c Did you feel like The Simple Life was too manufactured? Luckily, you can now watch Paris Hilton in her natural, high-rolling, jet-setting habitat as she gives an all-access pass into her world. Among the inhabitants: parents Rick and Kathy, beau Cy Waits and Brooke Mueller. Yes, that Brooke Mueller.
13 of 21 Rick Rowell/ABC

101 Ways to Leave a Game Show (ABC)

Premieres: Thursday, June 16, 8/7c This unique trivia game show encourages schadenfreude: You'll actually start rooting for contestants to answer incorrectly. Why? The losers are ejected from competition in a number of creative ways, often dropping from a great height into water below. Big splash, no cash: The winner gets $50,000.
14 of 21 Gilles Mingasson/ABC

Expedition Impossible (ABC)

Premieres: Thursday, June 23, 9/8c It's Amazing Race only with teams of three instead of two! Also, the challenges are decidedly not for city slickers — and yet, some of them will compete! Cops, football players and moms alike will go camel riding, wild river rafting, bungee jumping, mountain climbing.... Let's watch them squirm!
15 of 21 Greg Gayne/Fox

MasterChef (Fox)

Premieres: Monday, June 6, 8/7c Home cooks are no longer relegated to local cook-offs to prove their culinary mettle. But this show is not just about amateurs subjecting themselves to relentless cooking challenges and a trio of daunting, inscrutable judges. No, it's the story, heartache and tears that are the true secret ingredients to this recipe for reality melodrama.
16 of 21 Adam Olszewski/Bravo

Rocco's Dinner Party (Bravo)

Premieres: Wednesday, June 15, 11/10c Don't let the title fool you, but do let the show fill the Top Chef void for now. Another variation of a cooking competition, the series challenges four cheftestants each episode to whip up dishes to advance to the final round, where they will have to create a menu for a themed dinner party for such esteemed guests as Liza Minnelli and Padma Lakshmi. See, it's just like watching Top Chef.
17 of 21 Ron Koeberer/ABC

Take the Money and Run (ABC)

Premieres: Tuesday, August 2 at 9/8c Only super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer could conceive of a show that combines the top elements of classy, Emmy-winning series Amazing Race with the best of longtime guilty pleasure Cops. The title of this upcoming show says it all: Teams of two try to outwit law enforcement professionals and steal something to earn a $100,000 prize. At its best, think of it as watching a real-life Ocean's Eleven. On those less successful occasions, take part in the time-honored American tradition of watching others fail miserably (and enjoy every minute of it).
18 of 21 Warwick Saint/Showtime

The Real L Word (Showtime)

Premieres: Sunday, June 5, 10/9c The lady-lovers of Los Angeles return for a second round — but with an entirely new cast except for Whitney who becomes the focus of the show. And there's a lot more sex. Yes, more.
19 of 21 Patrick Habron/NBC

The Marriage Ref (NBC)

Premieres: Sunday, June 26, 10/9c These squabbles — "Shave that damned mullet," "I want to install a stripper pole in our house," or "More frequent sex, please" — may not be divorce-worthy... yet. But at least a random panel of celebrities gets to make a ruling that will affect your marriage. Relationship decisions by a committee of strangers? Yeah, that sounds like the secret to marital bliss.
20 of 21 Brian Bowen Smith/Fox

Hell's Kitchen (Fox)

Premieres: Tuesday, July 19, 9/8c It's an outlet for every disappointing dining experience we've had. Through Gordon Ramsay, we feel empowered to tell a snotty chef to "Get out!" of the kitchen, punish the losers with manual labor, shut down entire dinner services because of a poorly prepared risotto and determine one chef's fate with a mere unlocked door. Oh, and the flaming opening sequence is just too cheesy-cool.
21 of 21 Bob D'Amico/ABC

Bachelor Pad 2 (ABC)

Premieres: Monday, August 8, 10/9c If you're the slightest fan of The Bachelor or Bachelorette then you'll be hooked to your TV as former contestants compete for money while hooking up and double-crossing each other. Adding in the drama of from many of the cast members previously dating each other and you have a train wreck you can't help but watch.