Reality TV is officially out of ideas.
The New Year has brought even more copycat shows.
The stars are overexposed and over-merchandised, and apparently, viewers can’t get enough.
Something needs to be done before the reality craze ends as quickly as it began.
When “Survivor” premiered in 2000, reality TV was fair game.
Other networks wanted to capitalize on the mainstream success, and now there are several varieties within the genre.
This would normally be a good thing, except that the shows are merely clones of one other.
And the rip-offs make the originals less appealing by cheapening their once unique concepts.
“Survivor” led to “Big Brother” and “The Mole.”
Now comes “I’m a Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here,” such a blatant rip-off of “Survivor” that the producers have filed a lawsuit.
The family reality series “The Osbournes” has been successful, and rightfully so.
Now, the only thing they have to worry about is overexposure.
MTV airs the show almost daily, their merchandise is everywhere, and family members can be seen as a guest or host of just about every other show.
Then along came “The Anna Nicole Show.”
And if that wasn’t enough, Mike Tyson is in talks with Fox to develop his own reality series.
Upcoming talent search shows include: “Pet Star,” featuring judges such as Carrot Top and Ben Stein, “Are You Hot? The Search for America’s Sexiest People,” “Nashville Star” and “America’s Next Top Model.”
The networks obviously want to capitalize on the success of “American Idol,” and the expert judges and the audience participation will help.
How much undiscovered talent is left in America?
How can each show claim to find the next big superstar when so many people are competing for the same title?
I’m sure there are enough talented people (and animals) in the world to showcase, and just as many untalented people to make fun of.
As the shows continue, each winner will become a copycat of the original, defeating the purpose of finding unique talent.
For reality TV to salvage its popularity, shows need to be both inventive and enjoyable.
Fox’s “Man vs. Beast” was certainly something new, but watching a group of little people and an elephant pull a jumbo jet was certainly not enjoyable, and was extremely degrading to all involved.
Once a network has achieved reality success, instead of airing reruns four times a day, planning an entire merchandising line devoted to the show, and making a behind-the-scenes special, network execs should give viewers a break, and give us a chance to miss the concept before it’s ruined.
Marea Kasten can be reached at Mareak@hotmail.com