ABC News leaves American Idol off its weak list of top reality shows of the decade

It’s the time of year when every journalist has to start slapping together lists to wrap up the previous year–and now, decade. It’s fun, easy, (I publish my year-end lists at the end of December around the holidays so I can take a break; also, I hate pretending nothing happens in December.)

Anyway, the first reality TV-related list I’ve seen comes from ABC News, which calls its list The Top 10 Reality TV Shows of the Decade. I guess the fact that in terms of modern reality TV there were only, like, two reality shows 10 years ago this month doesn’t really matter for their purposes.

And perhaps it shouldn’t matter that writer Sheila Marikar left off, like, the number one show in the country: American Idol. It’s far from my favorite show, and I appreciate that Survivor made the list, but seriously, where is it? Maybe if the list was “best” reality shows of the decade, its absence would be explainable, if debatable. But the piece says the shows on ABC News’ list “may not have drawn the most ratings or critical acclaim, but their influence on pop culture over the past decade can’t be contested.”

Someone please tell me how Extreme Makeover: Home Edition influenced pop culture more than American Idol–beyond, of course, connecting Sears appliances to eternal joy and happiness. Idol not only generates ratings, it has its tentacles all over pop culture, from TV to music to film to the pharmaceutical industry.

The Top 10 Reality TV Shows of the Decade [ABC News]

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In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.