When ABC‘S Claim to fame debuted in 2022, I didn’t think much of it. After all, I’m not a huge reality show fan, so there seemed little reason to change that. However, after reading my friend and colleague Mike Mack’s review of the showI decided to give it a try… and I loved it. That continued into season two – which in some ways was even better than the first, but still retained what I loved most about it. Now the show is set to return for a third season, and I’m happy to say that it looks like we’re in for another delicious treat.

TV Review: ABC’s ‘Claim to Fame’ Sticks to a Winning Formula, But Adds Some Twists for Season 3 Premiere

Season 3 of Claim to fame is once again hosted by Kevin and Franklin Jonas (perfect choices, IMHO) and finds 11 contestants competing for a chance to win $100,000. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, the concept is that each contestant has a celebrity relative that they must keep secret while they try to determine who the other people in the house are related to. At the end of each episode, one person is chosen to guess. If that person correctly guesses who their target’s celebrity connection is, they stay and the target goes. But if they miss, their “claim to the game” is revealed and their time in the house is over.

This season coincidentally begins like the last two: with a game of Two Truths and a Lie. If you Claim to fame As a fan like myself, you know that a well-placed lie in this inaugural event can take you pretty far in the competition. That’s why the stakes are high even before the contestants step through the door of the Hollywood Hills mansion where they’ll (hopefully) be staying for the next few weeks.

In Season 1, we learned the identities of a few famous family members ahead of time — presumably so they could hook viewers by confirming that these are people you’ve heard of! Season 2 has pared that back, which I thought was a good move overall. That strategy continues in this first episode of Season 3, as there are no overt revelations (other than who gets eliminated). Personally, I love this approach, as my wife and I enjoy playing along at home and discovering as many connections as possible on our own.

Another major challenge of the show also returns at the beginning of Season 3: the Claim to fame talent show. This time, however, there’s a little twist. I won’t reveal what it is, but after the competition, we’ll know who has immunity this week and who’s in the bottom two. That leaves us with the rest of the episode to watch the bottom two candidates canvass for votes (or no votes, as it were) and gather all the clues they can — including from the returning Clue Wall.

One of the things I really liked about the first two seasons of Claim to fame is that while there may have been a few squabbles, it felt like the contestants all got along and supported each other, even if they were ultimately competing. That vibe largely continues into season 3, even if there is perhaps a bit of bitterness brewing. Hopefully this distaste will pass, because I think the camaraderie in the house is to the show’s advantage and sets it apart from the more drama-filled fare in its genre.

Obviously I won’t reveal who was eliminated or who they’re related to, but I will note that it looks like there will be even more personal messages from the celebrities to their family members this year. This was an element introduced last season, but not everyone had one and they usually played after a photo of the claim to fame was shown. In this case, the message started playing right after the countdown. Granted, since there’s only been one episode so far, it’s hard to say if this is an intentional format change or a one-off, but I like it either way.

Returning to Claim to fame was an absolute delight. Shortly after the show started, I realized I had a smile on my face, and it didn’t disappear until the credits started rolling. In short, the show is just pure fun. While I now have a pretty good idea of ​​who at least one person in the house is family, the rest are still up in the air for me – though time will tell if this episode is one of the biggest missteps in Claim to fame history or the greatest diversion ever. Either way, I’m glad this show is back and can’t wait to watch it week after week.

Claim to fame Season 3 airs July 10 on ABC and can be streamed on Hulu the following day.