Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reality TV Roundup

I have always found myself on a bit of the defensive because I am a dedicated consumer of reality television. In fact, I've avoided discussing it on this blog so far out of worry it might forever stain me as some sort of cultural idiot. The fact IS that television is entertainment... and whatever floats your boat is OK by me. My wife has her own TiVo filled to the brim with every cop show on the air... Never mind the fact that THOSE shows are about as far from REALITY as you can get - that's what she enjoys.

What really sticks in my craw are the people who insist on dismissing any program that is placed in the "reality TV" category out of hand. My brother-in-law, Todd, is one of these people. He won't tolerate 10 minutes of "Dancing With The Stars", but he'll watch every single Yankees game! Can you really tell me that three hours of baseball on TV is either more exciting or more entertaining than one hour of celebrity ballroom dancing? Again - whatever floats your boat.

Now - just a couple of quick riffs on current and future reality TV programs...

We're down to the final three on "Dancing With The Stars", now that Marissa Jaret Winokur has been shown the door. I was a big fan of the Tony-winning actress ... Like me, she is loud and fat... but she didn't let that get in the way, and she obviously enjoyed every minute that she was on the show. The great thing about Marissa is that she knew she probably should have been gone several weeks ago, and she appreciated that America kept her around as long as it did. As for the remaining stars, if Kristy Yamaguchi doesn't win, it will be a crime!

I've never been a big fan of American Idol... To me, it's always taken too long to go from early auditions to the finals, and there's something about all three judges that bug me. Having said that, I have dipped in and out of Idol this season... and I believe it's David Cook's competition to win.

If Reality TV is uncool, "Survivor" must be downright frigid. Just a few years ago, the granddaddy of reality programs was standard watercooler conversation in the office, but I knew almost no one at WMAL who would admit to watching it in recent years. The TV ratings are starting to bear that out. The finale of the latest season, "Fans vs. Faves", failed to finish in the top 10 programs for the week. That's a shame, because for those of you who snuffed the torch on Survivor years ago, I can tell you that this season - number SIXTEEN! - was one of the most entertaining seasons ever, including a four-week streak of tribal council blindsiding that has never been matched in the show's history! Again - I'm a big football fan - but you can't tell me that some of these shows are not just as competitive as TV sports!

Finally - I'm happy to hear that the Mole is making a comeback on ABC this summer. "The Mole" is almost as old as "Survivor", but it never achieved the same kind of ratings success. The original series was hosted by Anderson Cooper, who at the time was an overnight news anchor on ABC, and not yet a CNN megastar. The show itself is kind of hard to describe. There are about a dozen contestants who are given missions to perform... However, one of the contestants is a mole... someone whose job it is to spoil the missions without being detected. The winner of the program is the person who survives the longest, and who can identify the Mole. This show, more than others, was an acquired taste, but I highly recommend it. The new version will be out next month, but you can catch a marathon of the original series this Sunday on Game Show Network! Here's a promo for the original series:

By the way - a big shout out to my friend Ann Wog, who produces the Grandy and Andy Morning show on WMAL - She is my one and only true reality confidant! If it's reality TV, it's on Ann's TiVo!

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