reality TV shows led in product placement.

If a company climbed into bed with producers of a TV show and dangled their product in front of your eyes sometime during the first three months of this year, you were most likely watching a reality show. That’s because “[e]ight of the 10 TV programs with the most product-placement ads were unscripted reality shows,” according to Bloomberg News.

Leading the pack, surprisingly enough, was The Contender, followed by that bathhouse of consumerism, American Idol. UPN’s The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott came in third.

The product that led the way was Coca-Cola, which “appeared 1,931 times on U.S. television shows in the first quarter, almost as many times as it did in all of last year,” Bloomberg reports. Overall, “product placements rose 27 percent, six times the growth rate of network-TV ad sales, Nielsen Monitor-Plus said in a report released this week.”

Product placement goes reality route [Bloomberg News]

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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.