What is it with Reality TV?

More than thirty days have past since the writers’ strike took hold over TV’s programming. While many programs are in reruns, more and more reality TV seems to be popping up all over the airways.

In search of new material, the networks have turned to, what they call, reality.

NBC is bringing back “American Gladiators,” which will be hosted by Hulk Hogan. The FOX network will air a show called “When Women Rule the World” – what happens when suddenly men are made slaves to women living on an island. FOX has another show in the works called ‘Moment of Truth’. Participants will be hooked up to lie detector while being asked questions that might force them into sharing truthfully something embarrassing about themselves.

How pathetic and sad that we, as a country, support watching people suffer for entertainment or sport. What kind of clear message are major networks sending the entire world about what it is that we are suppose to value? And why is there so much reality TV anyway?

Well, first of all the strike has no effect on the writers/producers who work on reality shows because they are not members of the Writers Guild, even if they support it. Secondly, it offers the networks huge cost savings because a reality show costs on average 1 million dollars an hour to produce, versus other planned programming that can run between 2 and 8 million and hour.

Can you spell greed, anyone?

The scary part of all this, is that these time-filler shows launched by this strike could become permanent. When TV producers faced the last writer’s strike in 1988, they scrambled to come with alternative programming like “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted.” Both are still going strong.

While I find neither of these reality shows really offensive, the path that reality TV is now taking is yet one more hard reality of the lack of positive creative programming that too many of our largest networks offer to the public.

How can we as a creative group change this?

What GREAT creative reality programming can you think up? Something that can inspire the world and help others see a better way to laugh out loud in life, most every hour of every day, instead of shed a torrent of tears, fears and ‘can’t do it’s’.

Thank God for Animal Planet, A&E The Food Network and Planet Earth.

Want to know more about the strike? Read this NY Times article.

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