Monday TV: Getting ‘UnReal’

unreal_stillNobody really suspected that shows like “The Bachelorette” (ABC, 8 p.m.) to be perfectly true. Aside from contrivances like tonight’s sumo battle, there are people made in to villains through editing, and doubtless retakes of scenes, as there are on a lot of “reality” shows.

But the new series “unReal” (Lifetime, 10 p.m.) is set in the production trucks of such a show, where a demanding producer, played by Constance Zimmer, orders around everybody on a series, including the ¬†one who can most skillfully manipulate the people in front of the camera to do what she wants. Shiri Appleby plays that character heavily, hiding the baggage that came from some previous disaster on the set of their “Bachelor”-like show called “Everlasting.”

It’s not a bad soap for people interested in behind the scenes TV, and it’s smarter than most since it’s from Marni Noxin (“Girlfriends Guide to Divorce,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who used to work on “The Bachelor.”

“The Whispers” (ABC, 10 p.m.) is a new series not about the R&B group, but about kids who begin to take orders from their invisible friends. Based on a Ray Bradbury story, the series has a kind of updated “Twilight Zone” vibe to it. And any show that depicts kids as the alien force is a little scarier than usual.

In “The Lion’s Mouth Opens” (HBO, 9 p.m.) actress and filmmaker Marianna Palka keeps cameras running as she finds out whether she is carrying the gene for Huntington’s disease that killed her father. She has a 50-50 chance of having it, but unlike 90 percent in a similar situation, decides to get tested to see if she does. Part of her path is meeting with friends that include Jason Ritter and Bryce Dallas Howard. The film, by Lucy Walker, also includes Palka reciting by memory from Bob Dylan’s 1963 “Last Thoughts on Woody,” about Woody Guthrie’s demise to the disease (a line of which also gave the short film its name).

The premise of “American Genius” (National Geographic, 9 p.m.) is that the road to innovation begins with competition. So tonight’s first episode pits Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs; its second, at 9 p.m., has the Wright Brothers vs. Glenn Curtiss. Along these lines: “101 Inventions That Changed the World” (History2, 9 p.m.).

It’s called “Animals Gone Wild” (Nat Geo Wild, 9 p.m.), but animals go naked most the time anyway.

It’s June, and the summer seasons are tubing out, from “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox, 8 p.m.), which features Paula Abdul as permanent judge and begins its auditions in Dallas and Memphis; to “Devious Maids” (Lifetime, 9 p.m.), the “Desperate Housewives”-like soap from Marc Cherry, now entering its third season.

“Texas Rising” (History, 9 p.m.) finally comes to an end after its two hour finale. Then it’s all back to “American Pickers.”

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were a good team on and off the screen. Five examples of their work together are on Turner Classic Movies tonight with “The Long Hot Summer” (8 p.m.), “Rally Round the Flag, Boys!” (10:15 p.m.), “From the Terrace” (12:15 a.m.), “Rachel, Rachel” (3 a.m.) and “The Drowning Pool” (4:45 a.m.).

Baseball includes Milwaukee at St. Louis (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

The Round of 16 continues in the French Open (ESPN2, 5 a.m.; Tennis Channel, 10 a.m.).

Daytime Talk

Kelly & Michael: James Corden, Bryce Dallas Howard. The View: Susan Lucci, Ana Ortiz, Roselyn Sanchez, Rachel Smith. The Talk: Jeremy Piven, Rumer Willis, Brian McDaniel, Pati Jinich, Carnie Wilson. Ellen DeGeneres: David Spade, Jonathan Groff, Imagine Dragons. Wendy Williams: Ereka Vetrini. Meredith Vieira: Regina King, Mary Mary (rerun). Queen Latifah: Jaclyn Smith.

Late Talk

Jimmy Kimmel: Jeremy Piven, Adam Carolla, Hozier. Jimmy Fallon: Melissa McCarthy, Ed Sheeran, Terence Blanchard. Seth Meyers: Rose Byrne, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Brett Eldredge, Jon Theodore. James Cordon: Hannah Simone, Pete Holmes, Noel Gallagher. Carson Daly: Pete Docter, Waters, Tiller Russell. Tavis Smiley: Robert Ferguson, Edie Falco. Jon Stewart: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Conan O’Brien: Joel McHale, Jake Tapper, Courtney Barnett.

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