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?

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.