/// Reality TV Will Never Go Away

June 1, 2011  |  Media Week

On any given night, both broadcast and cable schedules will be clogged with backstabbers, hoarders, addicts, wannabe performers and chefs, damaged “celebrities,” and an endless array of cartoonish fame seekers. One-third of the fall network lineup is comprised of the format, with stalwarts like The Amazing Race , The Biggest Loser , and Survivor , and new entries The X Factor and H8R vying for audience. On cable, more networks than not, in fact, are populated with nonscripted shows, which is cheap to produce and tends to attract the younger-skewing audience advertisers covet. Once considered filler for the dog days of summer, the genre has fragmented into an array of subcategories like competitions (singing, in particular) and docudramas. But at its core it’s still about voyeurism, about gawking at the twisted as well as the relatable. “The rise in shows featuring names like Kardashian or anyone from the Jersey Shore tends to resonate because nothing is sugarcoated,” says Billie Gold, vp, director of programming at Carat. “When you watch, you realize that no one’s life is perfect, and that actually makes you feel good about your existence.” Here are more than two dozen planned fall and midseason entries on the broadcast networks (excluding newsmagazines and sports), and the most buzzworthy cable and summer entries. Summer Standouts America’s Got Talent (NBC)—summer Unlike the host of singing competitions, the field is open for fame seekers of all stripes. Big Brother (CBS)—summer The ultimate in voyeurism, contestants see who can stay in the house the longest while under surveillance. Airing every summer since 2000. So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)—summer The night after American Idol concludes, So You Think You Can Dance kicks in

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Reality TV Will Never Go Away

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