Americans getting an overdose of reality TV: study

Mumbai: Four out of five Americans say that there are too many reality dating programmes like The Bachelor on the air. And when it comes to Survivor and reality celebrity-type programs, like The Osbournes 67 per cent feel that there are simply too many.

These are some of the key findings from a recent poll about reality TV programmes conducted by global research firm Ipsos-Insight. The company recently surveyed 1,000 adults on 18 varieties of TV programming from reality shows and talent competitions to prime time dramas and found that many respondents are overwhelmed by the number and type of reality TV options.

However the study noted that the reality TV genre was still popular. Shows in this genre garnered four of the top six most watched spots between 8 -14 March. While reality TV is a huge pop phenomenon in the US the category is getting too crowded. Viewers are picking the winners and zapping the losers without mercy an official release informs.

For every The Apprentice (a ratings hit for NBC that has made its host, Donald Trump, the nation's newest reality TV hero) there is a Forever Eden which has struggled since its premiere. It quickly dwindled to low single digit rating/share figures in the all-important adult 18-49 demographic. The study stated that the challenge in the reality TV genre was that concepts get old very quickly making it hard to keep things fresh. But just when one thinks that the genre is dead or lost its edge out of nowhere comes The Apprentice.

Viewers want more historical documentaries. 51 per cent of the respondents said that there were too few of these shows. Crime-solvers, sports documentaries, situation comedies, and primetime dramas are well slotted. Half the people agreed that these programmes are shown in just the right amount. Coming back to reality TV the study noted that with the novelty of the genre wearing a little thin, the pressure on programmers to do their due diligence to identify winners and losers in the pilot stage is increasing. The polling data seems to suggest that only a handful of the new reality TV concepts would survive longer than two to four weeks.

When it comes to talent competitions, such as Fox's American Idol, an equal number of Americans say there are just the right amount of these programs on TV (44 per cent) as do those that say there are too many (43 per cent).

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