I’ll start this by making a confession: I watched the first season of survivor. Absolutely loved it, thought the interaction between Rudy and Richard was great, all the back-stabbing, the lying. I was hooked. But after that, I checked out. I don’t watch Big Brother or the Apprentice, I don’t care that Jimmy Johnson is on Survivor or Bristol Palin on Dancing with the d-list Stars. I don’t watch these shows for the same reason that I stopped watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire after a few weeks. The novelty wore off and I wanted to be entertained again. Well guess what, the novelty wore off for all of you too and the networks realized it. That’s why we have the utter crap that pollutes our televisions now.
I lived five years in Anaheim CA and there is NOTHING real about the Real Housewives of Orange County. Do you really think there are people in the world who are so interesting that their every minute should be filmed and shown in edited hour segments? I’m sure there were some weeks that Gene Simmons just sits around the house doing nothing… but that won’t make an episode so the producers come up with some “event” to drive each week. When you plan events and manipulate situations to make good television… it’s no longer REALITY.
All of these shows have become train-wrecks and the American populace watches in droves. They’re badly written soap operas performed by untalented people that you wouldn’t talk to if they lived across the street from you. But they are cheap to produce and throw on the air, so as long as people are watching it the number of really good scripted shows dwindles to nothing. Undercover Boss is a hit but Lone Star, a critically acclaimed new show gets two airings and killed. Why? Because viewers didn’t even try it.
Networks will put on the air the shows that the largest group of people will watch. That’s how it works. Which means that as long as viewers accept train-wreck television there will be no new brilliant shows on the big networks. You’ll have to go to TNT, USA, HBO and Showtime to get anything of any serious quality. And that’s a shame. If people turned off the Apprentice, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and gave their attention to the well written, well acted shows that fill in between the train-wrecks… the networks will make more of the scripted shows again. And wouldn’t that be better for everyone?