71 percent of Americans think there’s too much reality TV, down from 80 percent

Forgetting for a moment that 33 percent of Americans “believe Saddam was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks,” or that “55% believe erroneously that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation,” or that 100 percent of people named Andy Dehnart think that the media lazily relies on polls to make inconsequential declarations about what people think instead of doing work and reporting actual news, a new poll declares that nearly three-quarters of Americans surveyed think there’s too much reality TV.

“The poll found 71 percent of Americans believe there are too many reality shows on television, but that’s actually an improvement from the 80 percent who said the same thing in an AP-TV Guide poll in 2005,” the AP reports.

I’m not quite sure what that means, exactly, “too many reality shows on television.” How does the poll even define reality TV? Are they referring to just bad shows? Or were there just too many reality shows to distract pollsters from being able to write coherent poll questions?

The poll also found that “62 percent of Americans who say that TV programs are getting worse,” which is barely comprehensible considering the amount of talent and money that’s at work producing quality television, from Showtime (“Dexter”) to AMC (“Mad Men”) to even the broadcast networks (“The Office”). The AP does admit that “[t]he likelihood of people believing TV is getting worse increases with age,” as “[n]early three-quarters of people aged 65 and over believe that.”

In other stupid results, “9 percent of respondents spontaneously mentioned ‘Survivor’ as the program they’d most like to see canceled,” the AP reports. Survivor is solidly one of the 15 most popular shows on TV. And if the survey respondents are anything like 59-year-old Jeanie Peterson of New Orleans, then the results are worthless. She told the AP, “I’m not entertained by watching people eat spiders.” With all due respect, shut the hell up. I’d bet a nickel that if she’s not confusing it with the now-cancelled NBC series Fear Factor, she hasn’t seen an episode in years; at best, they do one gross eating challenge a season, and they haven’t really done many over the past few years, nor do the contestants pick spiders off trees and eat them.

Poll: Public Says TV Is Getting Worse [AP]

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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.