claim: drama is back, reality is history.

claim: drama is back, reality is history.
Stories like this make me want to drive a pencil through my temple so I can go to a happy place where ridiculous stories like this, yet another “ding-dong reality is dead” piece, never get written. Anyway, this time, the director of audience analysis at MAGNA Global USA, Steve Sternberg, takes the success of shows like Desperate Housewives and Lost, plus the lower-than-average ratings for the first episode of The Apprentice and failures of other reality series (as if we’ve never seen a show fail before!), and declares that reality is about to be over and scripted series are coming back. He writes, “a reversal of last season may occur, with scripted series replacing reality by mid-season, particularly if the several new reality shows about to come our way flop. At first glance of the fall season, it’s likely that those 10 scripted hours will be back on the schedule–at least five will be back this mid-season.” He also predicts that American Idol is going to crash and burn like Justin Guarini’s career: “Very few successful scripted series suffer any significant decline before their third or fourth seasons–and you can often spot signs that a ratings drop is coming. With reality series, you generally can’t. Fox will find this out when ‘American Idol’–which currently accounts for more than 20% of its regular season adults 18-49 rating points–finally slips.” He also claims that a network can’t really establish itself based on reality TV shows alone. “Too many reality shows put a network’s brand on its ear. Certainly, ‘American Idol’ is associated with Fox, ‘Survivor’ with CBS, and ‘The Apprentice’ with NBC. But too many of the lower-rated entries potentially make one network less distinguishable from another.” So, bad shows won’t help a network? Amazing. My only question: Where can we all get jobs like this where we just state the obvious and get paid for it?

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.