Commentary

New Reality TV:Real Criminal Characters Helping TV Ad Sales

The power of TV still lights up faux celebrities, from impeached former governors to overloaded mothers with too many children looking for more -- and now, an imprisoned NFL star.

News is that former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick wants his own reality show -- all while NBC has confirmed that the infamous former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is set to star in the network's upcoming summer reality series, based on a U.K. show, "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here."

That's not all. Nadya "Octomom" Suleman made no bones about wanting a reality show for her big family. No cable network has inked the deal yet. But here is one issue she has addressed: plenty of casting possibilities for her 14 children.

These people aren't asking for a viral video on YouTube, or a special Web site, or even a stimulus package. They want another high-profile job -- possibly with sponsorship guarantees.

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The digital media world is spreading thin and far -- but television shows still pique our interest for those on the criminal or moral fringe, at least according to TV production executives.

The rush to reality is an easy way to spin flagging real-life careers, as  "Celebrity Apprentice" on NBC and "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" on Comedy Central have shown.

It should be noted, too, that convicted murderer/music producer Phil Spector could be found on a promotion video some years ago touting his life as reality-show material. Yes, indeed.

It's tough for reality TV show producers to come up with original concepts now. Fox will be doing a show about actual people being fired from real jobs. There seems to be little "reality" left to plunder -- except maybe real-life crimes happening in real time.

TV marketers have complained for some time that reality content is increasingly harder to sponsor. These same marketers are also concerned about content on the likes of YouTube.

Cost per thousands prices for run-of-the-mill reality TV shows are still less than scripted shows. But with broadcast erosion, finding the right shows to advertise on becomes even harder.

The positive in all of this will be new advertising categories for TV sellers -- like bail bondsman, DUI-chasing attorneys, anti-depressants, and foreclosure and bankruptcy lawyers.

3 comments about "New Reality TV:Real Criminal Characters Helping TV Ad Sales".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 16, 2009 at 12:16 p.m.

    Perhaps the laws that prevent criminals from profiting from their wrong-doing should extend beyond the obvious financial rewards to also include less-obvious ego gratification. Fame may be more rewarding that royalties for some who crave attention. Then again, once a felon has served his time in jail, paying a debt to society, why limit his personal freedom?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 16, 2009 at 1:40 p.m.

    How about a reality show starring pirates? Wait, there is one variation coming. Next, 8 year olds getting married, rapes, stoning stars?

  3. David Thurman from Aussie Rescue of Illinois, April 20, 2009 at 9:34 a.m.

    Sadly if no one would watch them, then the networks wouldn't run them. We get what we deserve.

    A law regulating the ghouls is just one more step towards controlling our morality. That is something we have to manage ourselves. (Though I would rather see all these terrible above examples cleansed from the gene pool)...

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