Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 19, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

REALITY TV....A few days ago the LA Times ran an article detailing the woes of the reality TV business. Apparently, with only a couple of exceptions, every reality show has shown big drops in viewership this season.

I have an idea that might explain part of it. As regular readers know, I'm a Survivor fan (the perfect show for the George Bush era, I like to call it), but this season hasn't really grabbed me much. One of the reasons is that for about the third or fourth time, the producers have decided to turn it into a Battle of the Sexes. Yawn.

What's more, an awful lot of other reality shows are following the same formula. The Apprentice pits the boys against the girls, Richard Branson divvied up the teams along gender lines in his new reality show, and of course all of the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Joe Millionaire shows are gender based by definition.

The first time Survivor did it, it was sort of a guilty pleasure. Deep in their hearts, who wasn't curious to see who'd come out on top? But now it's just old. Maybe reality TV still has legs, but it just needs to find a different trope for pitting the teams against each other. Anybody up for city slickers vs. rural hicks? Liberals vs. conservatives? Tall people vs. short people?

Kevin Drum 12:26 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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