All Articles Tagged "Big Brother"
With Declining Viewership and Staged Storylines, Are Reality TV Shows Slowly But Surely Falling Off?
Reality TV is something that people love in the comfort of their homes, ridicule on Twitter, and highly favor on the blogs and the tabloids. It’s something of an art (term used very loosely here) and while there are more than enough series to fill up your DVR for the entire year, it seems as though reality TV has hit a bump in the road both in terms of viewership and creativity.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that TV in general isn’t pulling in the ratings because of the summer. Most people are either working hard and sticking to DVR’ing their favorites or just soaking up the sun and staying away from the TV in general. This summer, ABC decided to join the singing contest bandwagon with “Duets” with successful judges like John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Robin Thicke. The season opened with okay numbers (six million viewers) in May, but quickly fell to less than four million viewers for its season finale in July. Another promising series for reality TV fanatics was Bristol Palin’s show entitled “Bristol Plain: Life’s a Tripp” on Lifetime. The show was focused on her new life in her old town (yawn) with her son and everyone’s favorite political punch bag, Sarah Palin. Not even her mom could help her ratings; the show tanked with just 726,000 viewers for its first episode, and dropping to a low 426,000 on its second.
The summer premieres of scripted shows like ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” TNT’s “The Closer” and the newly renovated “Dallas” are pulling in more viewers than reality favorites like “So You Think You Can Dance,” Jersey Shore girlies’ “Snooki & JWOWW,” and VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” (although L&HH leads in the ratings for Monday Nights with almost two million viewers and is itself a hit for the network). But what’s popular among African-American viewers?
According to Reachingblackconsumers.com, last season, the top reality shows for black teens 12-17 included “Bad Girls Club,” adults 18-24, “T.I & Tiny: The Family Hustle,” and the 18-54 demographic closes the list with Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” With a combined total of over 1.19 million viewers, they haven’t raked in the largest numbers.
Black sitcoms/dramas are pulling in a lot more viewers. With just the encores of “Single Ladies,” “The Game” and “Let’s Stay Together” nearly doubling that average weekly, one would ask the question: Are we done with reality television? I wouldn’t put down the petitions just yet, but we may be getting there…
Haven’t We Seen This Before?
I sneaked a peak at the ninth (yes, ninth) season of “Bad Girls Club” during an episode that my cousin was watching the other day. Now, she absolutely loves everything drama filled and thinks it’s all “Amahhzing,” but even she was bored with the new season. “It’s more obvious that they [producers] are starting all the fights,” she finally realized.
There aren’t any secrets anymore when it comes to creating the story. We’re all able to spot out the villain, the victim, the b****, and the weakest link – and we all know the sob stories. Viewers are expecting something surprising when watching television, and even though I think we can all agree that a majority of it is scripted, it shouldn’t appear as such.
If it’s not enough that some shows are getting more and more predictable and fake, it doesn’t help that everyone is trying to do the same type of reality show. Need an example? How about the producers of “Big Brother” (CBS) who are suing the creator and producers of ABC’s new show “The Glass House.” The shows are very similar: A bunch of randoms are stuck in a house with cameras all over to compete for money while dealing with the drama that they (or writers) create. And it doesn’t help that many of the former employees of “Big Brother” are now working for the “Glass House.”
“Duets” is like “The Voice,” and “The X Factor” is like “American Idol.” You can find a different rehab-meets-intervention show depending on what channel you choose, and we’re just waiting patiently for The Real Housewives of Alaska. And if you hadn’t also noticed, there’s a reality competition to get in damn near every occupation you want: modeling, cooking, acting, etc. and one for every hobby and job available (towing, working in pawn shops, fishing, being a hairstylist, a doctor, as well as a gypsy and a jailed mobster’s wife). We could be reaching reality TV overload.
The Bottom Line: Do We Care Anymore?
There are definitely a load of reality TV shows on now that we probably won’t see again (good luck “Duets”), but for every failure of one, there comes another to take its place. Another celeb ready to put their lives out there, another everyday Joe or Jane Schmo ready to become an overnight celebrity. Do we constantly complain and critique these people who put their lives out there for us to see? Yes. Do we have to watch these shows to live? No. At the end of the day, no one forces anyone to watch reality TV. While it may be on almost every blog and entertainment show, realize why it’s there–there is a general interest and a large audience for them. If we want to see more scripted television with smart plot lines and that give real hardworking actors jobs, the attention should be placed on Meagan Good and Laz Alonso’s new fall show, “Infamous,” Kerry Washington’s upcoming second season of “Scandal” or even Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith’s new comedy, “For Better or Worse.” Then we may see an even bigger change in the programming and the way our people are presented (since that’s what anti-reality TV folks have been calling for). But it all depends on the storylines we see. The more dull or ridiculous things get in a story, the less viewers you’ll see for scripted television and the more you’ll find for reality TV, talking over coffee in the morning about folks with names like Karlie Redd and Joseline. Why? Well, let’s keep it real. Sometimes it’s nice to see that in one hour, your life isn’t as much of a hot mess as someone else’s. So while it might have been a cruel summer for reality TV, once fall comes around, those barking about the options now will probably be circled around somebody’s computer talking about “Basketball Wives” and RHOA. So in the meantime, support what you want to see more of, and stop partaking in what you would like to see less of. Do your part and hope that the reality TV overload will die down (or die off completely) soon enough.
But don’t hold your breath…
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I think I’m more shocked by the fact that ”Big Brother” is still on TV than I am any claims of racism, although contestant Jodi Rollins says that’s not what she’s suggesting, exactly. Season 14 of the CBS show debuted last week and during that episode she simultaneously became the first cast member to be eliminated. In the customary follow-up interviews, Jodi gave her thoughts on why she was the first to get the boot and in a double whammy she pulled both the race and the age card when it came to explaining her elimination.
“I have a theory as to why I’m not in the house … older people never win this game and black women never win this game and I’m an older black woman.
“I’m not saying anybody’s racist at all. When it comes to money, you have to make a decision based on what you think people will do. If you’re looking at who’s going to win the game, I’m not who you’d want. In this case, I think [Dan] didn’t choose me for those reasons”
Could be. Everyone comes into that house with their own prejudices and assumptions about what someone can or can’t do, but one thing I’ve noticed (like since desegregation) is that when it comes to a competition and trying to win, if people think you have what it takes, they don’t really care about your skin color or age, more often than not. It’s been a long time since I watched “Big Brother” so I can’t remember what the challenges were about but it’s not like we’re talking “Surivor.” This show always seemed like an older version of “The Real World” to me but with people fighting against each other rather than trying to live togeter as roomates. I don’t know how much of a disadvantage her age would have been or how much race factors into the equation honestly. By pointing out no other black woman ever made it to the top, Jodi does seem to be suggesting either every other cast had racist participants too or CBS has a discriminatory hand in things—both of which we know could be true—but I feel like if she’s going to bring up the race/age angle, she needs to follow through with it and not backtrack on the claim.
Perhaps Jodi just needs some time to let the disappointment settle in, though. On top of getting eliminated during the first show, for some reason she thought there was a chance she would be brought back later. Not exactly.
“I’m upset now, actually. Not happy,” Jodi said once the news finally sunk in. ”They made it seem like there was still hope, so I just kind of found out that there wasn’t. So I’m kind of upset. [I thought] maybe there’d be a twist that I could go back in the house, so that doesn’t seem to be happening and I just found that out.”
We know she’s upset, but is she bitter toward Dan, the man who got her kicked off? She says no.
“No, I’m not bitter at all towards him. I’m disappointed. He made the wrong decision, but no, not bitter to him at all, but I knew he didn’t believe in me from the get-go. I was last chosen, so… that didn’t feel good either.”
What do you think about Jodi’s claim? Do you think she was booted because she’s an older black woman?
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I am the youngest of a large rambunctious family and I have three older brothers. I think it’s a wonderful thing to grow up in a house where brothers are present. My brothers are significantly older than me and watching their maturation, or lack thereof at times, taught me so much about life in general and a boatload about “boys.” My brothers, especially the two youngest, were the handsome, life-of-the-party jocks of their crews. They were extremely popular with the ladies. As I witnessed a barrage of young women flock to and from our home as my brothers got older, I learned some really simple—yet important—lessons. These lessons didn’t reveal profound truths, but they provided nuggets of wisdom that I continue to remind myself of today. You know, sometimes it is so easy to forget that which you’ve already learned, but my interactions with men are always much simpler when I remember the things that I learned while watching my brothers. I offer these same lessons to you, not as new information, but as necessary reminders.
Has anyone else noticed that many of the black women showcased on television today are…hmmm, how can I say this nicely…crazy?
And let’s be real, if they’re not crazy, yelling at people for miniscule reasons and fighting in public places, then they’re acting a fool on court shows, talk shows and the like. Reality television has been painting us (or we’ve been letting it paint us) in that angry black woman stereotype we all loathe, and I for one am extremely tired of it. If we’re not the angry black woman for no reason, somebody is making us look like big mouthed bullies, or Maury is capitalizing on some very confused woman’s issues with the paternity of her child.
Face it, the few shows that have uplifting black women on them are one’s were not watching or seeing and those characters’ camera time in most cases is always very short. I can’t be the only one that feels like every time these shows come on the image of the black woman is being muddied up more and more. And don’t pretend who is on television representing us doesn’t matter, because unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people get their perceptions of black women from–including other black women.