January 22, 2007

Would You Rather?

Would you rather see:

Situation 1 or 2?

1) Everybody who works on a reality show1 is temporarily suspended, and all such shows are put on 1-year hiatus. They are all now on a new show. In the new show they form teams. The teams will compete for a number of weeks to see who can come up with the best television show. It may be any sort of show. It must be feasible to produce the show, and part of the competition is that they must come up with a plan for producing the show. The contest will be ultimately judged by the American people a la American Idol.

The losers on this show have their reality shows suspended for an additional 2 years. The winner of the contest gets to keep their current show. The new show and the first runner up will get produced. Depending on how many teams are competing, there may be prizes for getting into the final round, like having your show unsuspended earlier or having some high-profile celebrity sign to be on your show for a season.

2) A new TV show where the board members and executive officers of fast food restaurant companies agree to eat only the food their restaurants produce for a whole TV season. They’ll be followed around with cameras to see how much they eat of what types of foods, how much they weigh, how much exercise they do… And then, the aftermath. No special treatment; the food is ordered from their restaurants by surrogates. This one’s not a contest, although they do form “teams” of a sort. At the end, each team’s total weight gain/loss is calculated as well as other interesting data.

Which would you rather see?

1 My definition of a reality show is any show, especially a competition of some sort, where the events covered are specifically contrived for the show itself. Survivor counts as do Big Brother type shows. Game shows count as well. “Expedition” documentaries don’t count because, even if they are funded in part by the documentary itself. Sports events don’t count because spectator sports are usually leagues that exists apart from the TV broadcast of the show. Yes, it’s a fine line, but this is how I’m drawing the line. Home makeover shows are reality shows.

Posted by James at January 22, 2007 1:35 PM
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I don't actually want to see either, but I want people to eat their restaurant's own food. I'll watch if I have to. Then I'll buy all of the Dunkin' Donuts chains from the estates of the dead Dunkin' Donuts owners, and I'll be rich.

Posted by: Maggie at January 22, 2007 2:49 PM

#1, because I actually enjoy some reality shows [such as: MythBusters, Dirty Jobs, This Old House, (British) Cash in the Attic, & What Not to Wear]. My hope is that the shows I enjoy would out-perform the shows I can't stand (like: American Idol, Survivor, Big Brother, & The Simple Life), and then the crappy programs would be penalized :)

Posted by: Sharon at January 22, 2007 2:55 PM

#2 is much more appealing, especially if you're going to include game shows in your definition of "reality show." (I don't think #1 would solve any problems since the "American people" have already voted via the ratings that they like "reality" shows.)

My only concern with #2 is that all of the executives will die before the season is over.

Posted by: Julie at January 22, 2007 2:56 PM

Sharon - you've pretty much summed up the thoughts I was having behind #1.

The wild card, I think, is that certain teams would try to go less informative and more sensational. Would the voters be drawn in?

Yes, there is a kind of voting that goes on in TV ratings... people vote with their feet/eyeballs. But would people vote the same way they view? I'm not sure they would.

Posted by: James at January 22, 2007 3:04 PM

Reality shows don't affect me in any meaningful way because I can easily ignore them. But improvements in the fast food industry as a consequence of the contest might trickle down to a future meal when I'm on the road so I'll choose #2. Then again, my argument could be used to justify the opposite choice so this may just be a personal preference.

Posted by: Mike at January 22, 2007 3:09 PM

I too wouldn't care much either way but #1 would get reality TV off my set for a year. As well as out of my paper, radio, news (or should I say "news") etc. so I'm going with #1.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at January 22, 2007 3:45 PM

Oh - hey - yeah, if #1 would take the Fox Nooz Channel off the air for a year, I'd be all for that.

Posted by: Julie at January 22, 2007 4:09 PM

It wouldn't take them out of the news. We'd have all kinds of news about how there is no reality TV. :)

I'll take #2.

Posted by: briwei at January 22, 2007 5:37 PM

I don't have any interest in watching these types of shows. That being said, it would be nice to see people get a dose of their own medicine, so no. 2 would be good--as long as I wouldn't have to watch it.

Bob's point is a good one: If choosing no. 1 would mean I wouldn't have to hear about "reality" shows incessantly, then I'd vote for no. 1.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 23, 2007 8:23 AM

I don't have any interest in watching these types of shows. That being said, it would be nice to see people get a dose of their own medicine, so no. 2 would be good--as long as I wouldn't have to watch it.

Bob's point is a good one: If choosing no. 1 would mean I wouldn't have to hear about "reality" shows incessantly, then I'd vote for no. 1.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 23, 2007 8:24 AM

Sorry--I didn't mean to post twice. Computer issues this week.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 23, 2007 8:26 AM

I was going to say number 2 (heehee, number 2), but I like the point about not having the news filled with "news" about American Idol or The Apprentice.

Of course, that would probably just mean more hard-hitting news items about Lindsey Lohan or special behind-the-scenes look at the news outlet's parent company's latest movie.

Posted by: DG at January 23, 2007 8:43 AM

I guess I don't watch reality shows (except what I see on HGTV) or the news, so I never hear about them at all! News about TV -- what a concept! I think it's better to read the news. I like being out of touch (with that stuff).

Posted by: Maggie at January 23, 2007 8:52 AM

I barely remember the first time I saw news about TV on the evening news. They were announcing some other TV program that was going to be on later.

That's about the same time I stopped watching network news regularly.

Posted by: James at January 23, 2007 9:03 AM

Well, reality TV "news" is also included in the top stories on CNN's website, much to my extreme annoyance. In fact, I'd say that's my only real complaint about "reality" shows. It's easy enough for me to miss the shows themselves, but it's not so easy to avoid hearing about them elsewhere.

Posted by: Julie at January 23, 2007 9:40 AM

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