Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is reality tv taking over?

Each year you might notice that more and more reality television shows are popping up. It started with the Real World (as far as I can remember) on MTV. However fast forward about fifteen years later and reality television has taken over- Flavor of Love, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Survivor, College Hill, The Hills, American Idol, Survivor, Amazing Race, America's Next Top Model, and my personal favorite Jersey Shore. The birth of these shows and being catapulted into prime time has taken merely less than a year. The average sitcom, however must first take forgo a pilot and then pray to get enough viewers for a first season. After the first season if the show still has not brought in enough viewers the station is more than willing to drop them.

One particular story that I found quite interesting is the salary that these F list celebrities (in my opinion) make per show. MTV received a record high with 4.8 million viewers for a finale, surpassing the former number one show they had which was the Hills. However, the most mind blogging thing about this all, is that after the end of the season it was quite apparent that MTV was going to do a second season. MTV offered the original members of Jersey Shore to come back for a second season, however the number placed on the table was not one that they were even considering. All of the original members banded together and demanded $10,000 dollars per episode ( I guess a college education really isn't necessary). Initially MTV did not even consider their request, but People Magazine has confirmed that all the original members will be returning leading the public to believe that they were granted their wish.

My main concern is paying these astronomical prices for normal people who have no training in acting whatsoever, but are glorified for spending extra time in the gym, the tanning salon, or cosmetic surgery. I am honestly not mad at how they are making their money but really do believe that it demeans actors and actresses who do take this job seriously, people who have studied drama and have been in theater their whole life. It also demeans the entire process of writing sitcoms and the amount of work that editors and writers endure, for a reality show to come along and steal their viewers. The current situation is this, in order to be on reality television you can be moderate, however in order to dominate sitcoms or shows you must be above average.

I will not sit here and lie to you because I am an avid consumer of reality television, especially Jersey Shore. I tuned in every Thursday night to see Snooki to do something stupid and laugh. However, I was not laughing with them, I was laughing at them. As a potential advertiser I do not see this becoming a major problem in the advertising world, but as an English double major I am a bit worried to say the least.


Is reality tv taking over?

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