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TV Viewers Say Enough With Reality Shows

(Posted September 13, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

Most people say they've had about enough of the reality shows and talk shows crowding the airwaves, an AP-TV Guide poll found.

They still have a big appetite for news programming a more traditional source of reality TV with almost three in four saying they're satisfied with the amount of news on TV or they want more.

Eight in 10 said there are too many reality TV shows on the airwaves the most to say that about any type of TV programming.

They're getting a little out of hand, a little ridiculous," Anne Austin, a retiree from Mableton, Ga., said about reality shows. "I still like a couple of them, but it gets old after a while."

Few people believe there's much reality in reality TV: A total of 82 percent said the shows are either "totally made up" or "mostly distorted."

"I think they're giving a skewed perspective of life to our younger generation," said Rochelle Brown, a bank officer and mother of three from North Buffalo, N.Y. "You have these beautiful people who are doing wonderful things, or not beautiful people trying to become beautiful. It gives a false sense of what society expects from you as a person."

Television's new season officially begins next week, a relief to viewers after a lackluster summer.

Broadcast networks threw many new reality shows on the air. Between angry chefs, Tommy Lee's college escapades and a rock band searching for a new singer, the only one to catch on was ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Starting primarily with the CBS game "Survivor" and encompassing pop culture favorites like "The Osbournes," reality is a TV genre that has grown to rival sitcoms and dramas. It doesn't hurt that most are cheap to produce.

The poll results could be daunting news for Martha Stewart, who joins Donald Trump with her own edition of "The Apprentice" on NBC next week.

The saving grace for TV producers is that even a belief that reality shows are fake or distorted doesn't necessarily mean viewers won't watch. Sixty-eight percent of those polled said it didn't matter, or only mattered a little, whether the shows were truthful or not.

Even with high numbers being fed up with reality shows, the proliferation of the genre suggests some people love them.

"I enjoy the reality shows 'Big Brother,' 'Survivor, 'The Amazing Race' I watch them all the time," said Bonnie Jennings of Stewartville, Ala. "Those three ... I just cannot get enough of them, I just love them."

The poll also found:

_Half of Americans believe there are too many crime shows on television. The longtime staple of TV dramas has proliferated with the success of franchises such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Law & Order."

_Of all the new shows introduced last year, "CSI: NY" has the most people looking forward to its return. "Desperate Housewives," twice as popular with women as it is with men, came in second.

_People watch more TV as they get older. People with less education watch more and residents of rural areas watch more than those in the cities or suburbs.

Viewers may have also had their fill of talk shows. The poll found 56 percent of Americans saying there were too many.

The fact that half of the viewers said there were too many crime shows could be an early warning for TV producers. The genre's success has only encouraged them to make more and, based on previews, they're even more gruesome this season.

The elderly are more likely to say there are too many crime shows, according to the poll. Given the way advertisers seek youth, that's not an audience programmers are likely to listen to that much.

The AP-TV Guide poll of 1,002 adults was taken Sept. 6-8 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It was conducted by Ipsos, an international polling firm.


AP Television Writer David Bauder and AP Manager of News Surveys Trevor Tompson contributed to this story.


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Source: Yahoo! News

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