Theatre Matters

Contemplations on the dramatic arts from a national perspective

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Steven Oxman has contributed to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, Stagebill, and, most frequently, Variety, for which he has written over 300 television and theatre reviews.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Die, Reality TV, Die!!

Could it finally be happening? I know it's inevitable, but it has taken forever. Could Reality TV finally be dying? From the Los Angeles Times:

"Back for another round of stage-whispered cattiness and 'final rose' ceremonies with new contestants this fall, 'The Bachelor' has lost a third of its audience compared with last season, averaging just 8.3-million viewers — fewer than the number who tune in to the Wednesday version of the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes."

It's just one more bit of tarnish on TV's once-gilded reality boom, which has produced such monster hits as CBS' 'Survivor' and Fox's 'American Idol.' Two other unscripted staples, NBC's 'Apprentice 2' with Donald Trump and the gross-out contest 'Fear Factor,' have likewise suffered double-digit declines this fall, although both still perform respectably in their time slots."

While I get as much guilty pleasure from "Survivor" and "American Idol" as the next guy, this fad has been truly dreadful for television as a dramatic art. Clearly reality TV won't completely disappear, but may its decline be hasty and permanent!