Why is it that we can’t turn away from reality TV? Do we really care if Brad Womack falls in love? And what does it say that Mike “The Situation” is up there with the Merriam-Webster definition of situation in an organic search? If you don’t recognize these names, congratulations. If you do, join America’s obsession with reality TV.
Look at Charlie Sheen. He is even more of a ratings draw with his recent antics and outrageous comments. According to Media Life, Sheen’s Monday interview helped “Piers Morgan Tonight” reach the highest number of 25 to 54 viewers since the premiere in January. It seems we are more interested in Sheen as a reality star than the actor that helped “Two and a Half Men” become the top-rated sitcom on TV.
Media Life and Nielsen recently reported that reality series still dominate on cable with eight of the top ten shows last month being unscripted series. The remaining two were sporting events. The month’s top cable show was MTV’s “Jersey Shore” with a network-record 9.7 million total viewers.
Reality shows generally cost less than half as much to produce as scripted television, so this is an attractive alternative for the networks. For media buyers, reality TV is especially appealing in the summer when new prime programming has historically been limited. 15 of the top 20 highest-rated programs last summer were reality or unscripted shows on broadcast television among 18 to 49 viewers.
All of this to say, we can start to admit what we watch because we are not alone. Even if viewers say they don’t want it, the ratings speak for themselves.
As leisure marketing specialists, we at CCT Advertising will continue to watch the trends of reality television and stay in tune with what viewers choose to watch in their free time. It doesn’t mean we are endorsing it, but if we do choose to watch, it is purely for research purposes. I promise.