The papers carried a story the other day about the number of “reality tv” shows that are in the pipeline for the new year. I don’t know about anyone else who read it but this didn’t fill me with joy nor did it lead me to want to watch more tv.
Consistently people (when interviewed) say they want more quality programs on TV. They want better quality and they want less reality TV. Why then are the program makers trying harder and harder to bring more reality tv to our screens?
The first answer is that reality TV is cheap. Cheap in the extreme. Making good quality TV isn’t a cheap option but simply getting a bunch of people off the streets removes all the nasty mess, complexity and cost that is actors salaries in one foul swoop. Also there is no need for scripts, imagination or anything else that seems to cause TV program makers trouble.
The second answer is more troubling. People still watch them! Despite all their complaints aout these shows people still keep tuning in and watching them. Given how highly volatile TV land is these days does anyone believe that these shows would continue to be made if there wasn’t an audience? If “we” the viewing public want fewer reality TV shows then we need to stop watching them. The Daily Mail last year decided not to cover that series of Big Brother at all. Imagine of all the tabloids took that decision. wouldn’t it be great? Unless you happenned to stumble on the program by accident (or one of those nasty shows that C4 puts on around it) you wouldn’t be subjected to the nonsense (taste filters anyone?).
Put simply, we need to stop watching reality TV shows. If we want TV programs of a high quality we need to watch the few examples out there and turn off all the dross that is reality TV.