Friday, March 11, 2005

why reality tv works

I'm sitting here watching The Reality of Reality on Bravo while I rehabilitate, where it goes through the history of reality TV. First, reality TV is nothing new, it's as old as commercial TV. Remember Truth or Consequences, The Dating Game, The $64,000 Question, or The Gong Show? Yep, all the ancestors of today's shows.

The show discusses why networks love reality TV, and like many things in this country, it boils down to $. Fiction shows cost much more to create than reality TV. With a scripted fiction show, there's writers, screenwriters, and actors to pay. With reality TV, all you need is an idea and some people. No writers or actors to pay. Reality TV is quick, cheap, and easy to produce; a fast way to fill a slot in a schedule. Which Americans are more than happy to oblige.

Thinking about it, I guess that's why I'm not a great fan of reality TV. I like watching a well-crafted story. The only exceptions are Trauma: Life in the ER and Paramedics, both of which show on the Learning Channel, and even then I don't watch those shows that often. I would much rather watch a fictional show that is set in that kind of environment. Although, like most people, it's hard for me to turn the channel when it lands on some of these shows. Kinda like the proverbial train wreck, and with my EMS background, I can't turn away from those, either.

No comments: