By Holly Dare/ Special to the Star
Reality TV makes for great watching. It's so popular that Fox network will be launching an all-reality-all-the-time network next month.
To the networks, reality shows are a great investment with low production costs and a potentially big payoff. Network programmers love making cheap shows. Reality shows require little in terms of actual production. No high-priced sets, no over-priced stars, no make-up or wardrobe people. They often don't even require much in the way of a shooting crew: a few cameramen and a sound guy are really all that are needed. And, they are shot on videotape unlike most one-hour dramas or quality sitcoms which are shot on costly film.
There are no writers to pay either. Most writers probably couldn't dream this stuff up, with truth being stranger than fiction.
Because the 'bottom line' is God in Hollywood, these shows are relatively low-risk. If it doesn't work, the networks haven't invested much. They simply walk away and create a new reality.
Reality shows allow viewers to face their fears vicariously. Some see this as a bonus. Afraid of bugs crawling over your body or eating animal brains? Watch "Fear Factor." Ever wonder what it's like to live with your total opposite? Watch "Strange Love." Want to know what it's like to do stupid stunts? Try "Jackass" or "Knievel's Wild Ride." Have a fantasy of living life as a bounty hunter? "Dog the Bounty Hunter" is for you.
And if you want to figure out if you can be lost and actually survive on a desert island, there is the granddaddy of them all - still going strong - "Survivor."
By watching others in seemingly life-threatening situations, the viewer imagines himself in the driver's seat. He faces his fear, gets an exhilarating high from watching and tunes in week after week, guaranteeing that the network profits.
Viewers that don't identify with that philosophy will take comfort in knowing that there's always someone out there with worse problems. Just take a look at "Dr. Phil" and all the sad, pathetic people who confess their sins and plead for help. Like a proverbial train wreck, we can't help but watch.
Networks will keep producing such shows and they should. After all, no one's getting hurt.
First published on 4/20/05 in the Opinion Section of the L.A. Valley Star.
This is a collection of stories and articles created by writer / artist Holly Dare. All materials, including photographs, on this blog are copyright protected and are the sole property of the writer or original publisher. Do not steal intellectual material!