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James Hibberd

Tonight: The Two KNs

September 19, 2007 3:29 PM

CBS’s “Kid Nation” has likely received more pre-air press than any other reality show since the network launched “Survivor” in 2000. The most recent wave of media reports have centered on CBS’s decision to not send the premiere episode to critics. For the network, that was an easy call. Reviews could only demystify the show, burst the bubble of anticipation that’s built up over months of high-drama publicity. Also, the network surely suspects critics have their minds made up about the show, and screeners would just provide another stick to beat them with.

As for the rating, the tracking research is all over the place, so predictions are tough. There’s an easy argument to be made for the show opening huge or soft. The critical response that follows is likely easier to foresee. Not because the show is good or bad, but because the reality boogeyman that’s built up in the minds of those following the controversy cannot possibly live up to what the show has always been: Kids completing a series of reality show challenges.

Fox’s “Kitchen Nightmares” hasn’t received nearly the same amount press as “Nation,” yet seems poised to deliver a solid rating.

Also premiering tonight: The CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” and “Gossip Girl” and Fox’s “Back to You.”


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