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TV is Eating Its Young

Reality TV sucks.  But it is like a car wreck.  You don’t want to look as you go past, but you can’t help yourself.  The truth is it is decimating the television landscape.

On most nights, practically every major network has at least one, usually two hours of “Reality” programming.  NBC also throws in shows like Brian William’s news show and Dateline in Primetime.  Networks are running these programs for two reasons.  The main reason is it is cheap.  The price of airing an hour of scripted television is approximately $1 million dollars.  “Reality” programming costs only a fraction of that.

It is understandable when some of the cable networks air shows like Pawn Stars, Iron Chef and other such programs.  For the most part, these shows are entertaining.  They are not “Reality” shows in the sense that “Housewives of New Jersey” is a “Reality” show.

Let’s talk about “Housewives” for  a second.  In what kind of a f$#%@^d-up world is Teresa Guidice a star?  In case you don’t know, she is the bankrupt, loudmouthed bitch that is not only on HWNJ but now on Celebrity Apprentice.  Stars used to be someone who has special talent.  The only talent she has is that she somehow finds her way home every now and then.  Seeing her, makes me almost ashamed of being of Italian descent.  Yet, she has not one, but TWO shows.  Are people watching Celebrity Apprentice to see if she will  tip over the board room table on Trump and mess up his hair?

American Idol and The Voice is good television.  It is lousy music.  Essentially it is spectacularly produced karaoke.  There are a few idol contestants who have become stars due to their exposure on the show.  But mostly, their music careers are brief.  That brings us back to Celebrity Apprentice.   Clay Aiken, has not done well in the live concert world.  His Broadway career is sputtering.  So, miraculously he finds he way onto Celebrity Apprentice.  The only requirement for Celebrity Apprentice seems to be that you are either a “has been” or a “never was.”  These are the only celebrities they can afford to hire for the show. 

The biggest problem with “Reality TV” is that it prevents the networks from spending money on programming that actually has real stars on it and also may require an IQ slightly higher than a squirrel monkey to understand.   NBC has almost totally turned its prime time lineup over to “Reality Shows”.  The network that brought us The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Law & Order, now gives us The Voice and Fashion Stars instead.  Fox seems to be the only network that is consistently turning out quality scripted programming. Also don’t be fooled into believing that “Reality TV” shows like Idol and Celebrity Apprentice don’t have an overall plan for the program.  There is no way, that Donald Trump will vote off someone who is popular with the audience in the early going, just because their team lost a “Task” and they were the Project Manager.  We can only hope that Lisa Lampanelli has overstayed her welcome with the audience.  Also, the small print on the Idol contract lets contestants know that the public’s phone vote is not necessarily FINAL.  Even “Reality TV” is manipulated.  Who would have believed it?

The question is, when is it going to end?  How much longer will the public continue to turn off their brains and sit in front of the TV to watch this shit?  It gives new meaning to the term Boob Tube.  I never thought I would say this, but if you have an IQ of over 70, the best programming is on PBS and stations like the Discovery Channel, History Channel, History 2, The Smithsonian Channel and other similar networks.  When there isn’t a sporting event on, those are the places I go first to make a selection.  I usually find something great on one of these networks  Thank God the Knicks and Rangers have been interesting this Winter, or else I might have to resort to reading a book.

Look, I have no issue with the idea of “Reality TV”.  It is just that we have made stars out of these people.  Would you want to invite half of these people to your house for dinner?  Not me.  The whole term “Reality TV Star” is the biggest oxymoron ever.  What is star-like about Starr Jones?  Okay, wrong choice, but what was she a star of exactly? To me, stars are talented people, who are compelling in a good way.  Not because we wonder how they dress themselves each day without assistance.

 Thank God for cable networks like HBO and Showtime who have given us The Sopranos, Entourage, Homeland and others.  The problem is, once these shows get popular and the actors find themselves in demand, HBO et al, can’t afford to pay them and the series have to end. 

That is a whole other issue.  The best shows get popular and then go away, because they get too expensive to make.  So what is the answer?  Oh of course…Syndication!!!  Thanks you lord.  I have to run, UHD is running Mr. Ed and I have to make sure my DVR is recording it.

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About jimdelbalzo

As the former Senior Vice President of Promotion at Columbia Records and now founder/helmsman of the artist management company-Jim Del Balzo Entertainment, Jim has managed, consulted, and developed/executed the promotion and marketing plans for some of the planet’s most beloved musicians. He has guided the careers of artists/acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Alice In Chains, James Taylor, George Michael, Soul Asylum, and System of a Down; to name just a few. Jim also does consulting for labels and publishing companies including Columbia Records, Warner Brothers/Reprise Records, Hear Music/Starbucks, EMI Music Publishing and several other entertainment entities. Jim Del Balzo Entertainment clients include,  John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, James Taylor, LL Cool J, Burt Bacharach, City Sleeps, Buddahead and Since October.     Jim’s highly successful career and great service to the music industry has earned him a number of accolades and awards over the years. Namely, he was voted one of the Top 25 Most Important People in Rock Music (2000) and Promotion Executive of the Year (5 times) by Album Network—from which he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. And Clear Channel twice honored Jim with the Executive of the Year Award while Friday Morning Quarterback and Radio & Records named him Top Industry Executive 7 times combined.   Today, Jim Del Balzo takes his talent to the microphone, adding voice work to his remarkable repertoire. His promotional expertise and attuned top executive instincts-combined with his richly unique sound- delivers VO that is truly somethin’ else.   Jim Del Blazo VO.  Like nothin’ you’ve heard. Like nobody’s business.   Jim lives in Saddle River, New Jersey with his wife Mary Beth, daughters Jessica and Julia, and their two golden retrievers.

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