FOX, ABC will air reality next summer, although “spending more money isn’t an option” for ABC

Many of this summer’s “cruddy reality shows” resulted in “double-digit declines among the young-adult viewers” for ABC, CBS and NBC, the Los Angeles Times’ Scott Collins reports. But that isn’t scaring at least two networks away from a summer o’ reality. Sadly, it’s also apparently not encouraging the worst offender to stop producing crap.

FOX’s Preston Beckman said, “We’re probably going to rely more on unscripted than scripted in the summer.” ABC’s Jeff Bader said that viewership “erosion is scary. Next year, it might be smarter to do fewer shows but maybe market them better.”

That’s a good idea, Jeff, but how about fewer craptastic shows, too? I realize that it’s difficult for ABC to greenlight a reality show that doesn’t suck, but try, please. Alas, Bader admitted that for ABC, “Spending more money isn’t an option.”

Part of the reason that they’ll stick with reality shows in the summer, as Collins writes, is that “broadcast execs have tried to launch scripted programming during the summer many times before, often with disastrous results.” There’s also money: “networks are trying to figure out ways to do more with less, and none has the luxury of taking a flier on a costly drama during the summer, when the audience levels are still a bit lower than they are at other times of year.”

Cold reality of summer TV [Los Angeles Times]

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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.