Now E! steps into this edgy world of programming, reality TV-wise, with the series “Hollywood Cycle.” E! says it’s a “sexy, cutthroat series." So you can imagine -- as with most reality TV shows -- there’ll be some villains. Maybe Lance Armstrong will make an appearance. (Hey, just kidding!)
But c’mon. You’ve had enough Kardashians, divas, bodyparts “Botched," or other entertainment-tinged reality leanings. bringing the screams and the mean. Find out how those Hollywood types keep fit -- and in fits. And yet it’s stationary cycling. No race to the finish line. Kind of makes you yearn for Tour de France -- or at least a crash or two.
Reality TV needs a facelift -- it has been taking a drubbing of late. Not just with its weaselly nature -- and, more recently the alleged illegal and immoral activities around TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” -- but with the now typical back-stories of contestants, the confessions, and snark.
All the while, ratings are anemic. Non-competition reality TV programming for the broadcast season comprised just a 2% share of all total day C3 (commercial ratings plus three days of time shifting) 18-49 rating points this past season, according to MoffettNathanson Research -- about the same over the last five seasons.
Cable networks continue to ply their schedules with reality TV for one reason: it’s still cheaper than scripted programming -- and advertisers still pay a decent rate for commercials, especially for mere modest ratings performances.
But long term, what are TV viewers getting here? And what about those who are pedaling hard -- in one place? The overall metaphor: None of these participants will be going anywhere.