Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Reality Of It All

Now they've gone and done it! Bullwinkle isn't the only one to grab the wrong hat. The experts predicted their death knell. They said the end was in sight. There was hope for television. There was quality network programmimng on the horizon. I should have known better than to believe any sentence containing a word that rhymes with Verizon. If they had said around the corner, I would feel better. If they had said hope was buried under an avalanche, we would stand a chance to have a good show or two.

They assured us that "Reality TV" had just about run its course. It was a dinasaur facing extinction. In spite of the ratings, several studies indicated that over 80% of the viewers watching the so-called reality offerings, were watching only because there was nothing else on worth watching. The high ratings these programs are garnering, are in fact default ratings.

An entertainment industry critic sited the "Carol Burnett factor," as the prime example of default ratings. "The Carol Burnett Show," on Saturday evenings apparently ruled that time slot for years. But in only one half of a season, nearly 65% of that viewership jumped ship when a viable product was scheduled in the same hour. That viable product was "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Under the cloak of "retirement special," Carol Burnett and friends slipped away almost unnoticed.

It was considered an anomally at the time, that so many viewers would jump from a family comedy program to a high-brow science fiction production. At the time, Generations was the most costly program to produce on network TV. Was Star Trek that good? Was Carol Burnett that bad? Maybe it was just because a change was needed. "Everybody Loves Raymond" would've been successful in the same spot ... Not!

One thing however, is certain. Schedule a "good" program against another network show, chances are the existing program will falter when challenged. One can only hope that production is underway for the good alternative program that we have been promised.

The horrors! It looks like we are stuck with the networks sticking it to us for a little while longer. After all, these reality programs are cheap. Not only are they cheap in value and content, but they are cheap to produce because the help is cheap. They don't have to pay big bucks for big stars at actor's guild rates. Set up a TV camera somewhere, and people are more than willing to make fools of themselves just be on television.

To make matters worse, the Emmys have even created a category for Best Reality Program. One "candidate" field is missing -- "None Of The Above!" In my opinion, it is safe to say that "None" would receive a lot of votes. I wonder, if None won, who would come up to receive the trophy, nobody? Who would give the acceptance speech, nobody? "Thank you for this wonderful honor. I would like to thank nobody for nothing. If it weren't for nobody, I wouldn't be here getting a trophy for nothing. "



Duke_of_Earle said...

Mike: Nice limerick! Wish I could do that!


schnoodlepooh said...

Reality sucks! However, I do like court TV's Forensic Files and A&E's Cold Case Files. Those aren't the same as "stupid joes" or all of those others. Oh yeah, I quit watching What not to Wear. I decided it was too superficial. Thank goodness for cable. Also like discovery channel and animal planet - it's good reality.