Reality TV: not dead yet!

A new survey from The Associated Press and TV Guide finds that four out of five Americans think there are too many reality shows on the air, but I think pop-culture snobs who would use that figure to start writing the genre’s obituary are mistaken.

For starters, a lot of people I know would be reluctant to admit to a pollster how much they like some of these shows, especially since many critics like to trash reality TV in general. But let’s be honest, for every woeful Britney & Kevin: Chaotic or The Cut there’s a wonderful Amazing Race or Dancing With the Stars. Can I get an ”amen” from everyone who enjoys the latter programs every bit as much as scripted goodies like Arrested Development or CSI: Miami?

Secondly, as the novelty of reality continues to wear off, and the genre matures, viewers are learning to separate the Survivors from the Average Joes, much as they do with sitcoms and dramas. Sure, there’s too much reality, but poll respondents also said there are too many crime dramas and talk shows.

Anyhow, the real proof of reality TV’s prognosis is in the ratings — and the ad rates. Fox just announced it will charge a record $705,000 for a 30-second spot when the fifth season of American Idol kicks off in January. Sounds pretty healthy to me.

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  • Sean

    Putting Arrested Develpment in the same story as any reality show is shameful. This is one of the top three network shows of the past ten years. On the flip side there have been only two worth while reality shows EVER, project greenlight because it gives talent a chance and extream makeover home edition, which helps people who need it. I say we take all the budgets of all reality shows and make one big one called extream makeover katrina edition because if talentless reality tv must go on, lets at least make it help people.

  • Ep Sato

    Well said.
    I too am getting tired of seeing people who really really really want to be famous make fools of themselves doing it. Better to use the VH-1 formula of B-lister humiliation or Extreme Makeover Home Edition’s formula of reality tv made nice.
    On the other hand, I find reality tv to be a guilty pleasure, but will certainly never be on the level of Arrested Development.

  • Todd

    I’ll agree with Sean that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a great, positive, uplifting reality show.
    The rest of them are sooooooooo tired. I’m hearing that contestants in BB6 tried multiple times to get on the show previously — so we’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel for reality TV contestants.
    Somebody ought to start a ‘school’ for reality TV wannabes if this trend continues…..and give me a cut for the idea…

  • jojo

    People still watch CSI:Miami?

  • Tim

    For every quality reality show like Survivor or Amazing Race, you do have two or three steaming piles of poo, and that can’t be helped.
    I’m tired of seeing these reality TV nobodies milking their 15 minutes for as long as possible. Don’t they have real jobs (Trishelle of Real World fame??)? Don’t you have any self respect left, or has that been replaced by making an easy buck?

  • JrsyGrl

    Sean, Project Greenlight is nothing more than a vanity project for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
    There are PLENTY of talentless non-reality TV shows too. How about their budgets and the salaries paid to the “stars” be donated too?

  • Heath

    Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is all fine and good, but I find it impossible to believe that a quality home can be constructed in one week, no matter how many people are helping out.
    Unfortunately, the producers of that show aren’t in it to help people who need it. They’re in it to get good ratings and make money selling advertising. If/when the ratings go south, I don’t think the producers will change careers and get jobs helping the needy and underprivileged. At least shows like “The Amazing Race” don’t portray themselves like giant, filmed random-acts-of-kindness.
    Reality TV is throw-away TV, but some of it is entertaining.

  • brandonk

    I enjoy some reality shows, like “The Amazing Race” and “The Apprentice,” but shows like “Fear Factor” and “The Girls Next Door” don’t hold any appeal for me. As others have said, though, there are good and bad shows of all sorts, scripted or not.

  • Mixteca

    I loved “Project Runway” it inspired me to want to learn how to sew. I’ve even taken sewing lessons and bought a sewing machine. Picking on reality tv is just an excuse to be a snob.

  • Sean

    Heath, you are completly right about the abundance of talentless non-reality shows on tv, in fact the majority of them are. This is why I have move most of my attention away from network tv except for about 4 shows (Arrested, Scrubs, West Wing, and Simpsons) and spend most of my tv watching time on HBO and Showtime originals (two of the few places that word still applies). And yes I feel anyone making a comfortable living should be giving as much as possable and then some.
    As for project Greenlight, as a recent film graduate I’d like as many doors as possable out there to walk through no matter whos ego it is stroking.

  • Sean

    Sorry think that last post should have been directed at JrsyGrl not Heath and also forgot to mention the only thing on that really is must see tv, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

  • Osman

    705k?? WOWWW THAT IS ALOTT for 30sec…. i want 705,000 , i could soo use that for school tuition

  • jcarey70@hotmail.com

    I’ve heard there might be a show in talks where non professional athletes get to live,train,and compete and get scouted for a major or minor league contract. I heard its going to highlight a different sport each TV season. Yahoo for all the great athletes that dropped out of college. And still have game !!!

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