Reality TVJust a fad or here to stay?

Laguna Beach, Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Real World. The list of reality shows on TV today is quite recognizable. Every one has an opinion on these shows, whether they swear by them or swear about them. Either way, the things most people can agree on is that reality TV’s popularity has soared and that it is a major part of our society. But is it really? Website reports that the most popular reality show on TV ranks 34th, behind a slew of dramas and comedies. This show isn’t even one of the familiar ones mentioned earlier, it is Flavor of Love, a show on cable network VH1! What has happened to reality TV? Originating around 1990 with Cops and The Real World, reality TV has proven to be more than just a passing fad. It has grown into many forms from improvement (Pimp My Ride, Trading Spaces) to gameshow-esque competition (America’s Next Top Model, American Idol) to simply observing another person’s typical life (Laguna Beach, Miami Ink) to situations which don’t seem realistic at all (The Girls Next Door). Reality TV was originally intended to give viewers something that was more “real,” something that they could connect to. Instead of well known actors and actresses providing entertainment, it would just be average people off the street who were just like the viewers. It provided a trend away from celebrities for once. However it seems that the line between the average and the well-known has been blurred. Reality TV has left behind its roots in average people and has become more and more like celebrity based dramas. Today reality TV stars are turned into mini-celebrities themselves. LC from Laguna Beach is an example as well as the numerous reality TV women who have moved on from their shows to pose in such magazines as Playboy and Maxim. Also, celebrities themselves are now the stars of shows in the “reality” category. The Girls Next Door, The Simple Life, Celebrity Fit Club, and Dancing with the Stars all include celebrities (albeit some of them are washed up) and Flavor Flav of Flavor of Love is well known for his, “Yyyyyyyyeeeeeeee Booooiiiiiiii!” catchphrase and his rapping skills. Are we seeing the gradual decline and fall of reality TV? Can it compete with the likes of Family Guy, One Tree Hill, and 24? In the end, reality TV is just a form of entertainment like any other type of TV. And apparently it’s not nearly as entertaining as dramas and comedies that are specially engineered to grab and hold the attention of the viewer. It seems reality just doesn’t match up with the drama, sex, and excitement of scripted shows. But then again, isn’t that why we watch TV anyway?