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Reality Check: Expert Breaks Down the Discrepancy Between What Viewers Say They Want and What They Really Watch

Sep 13, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Bill Carter of The New York Times takes a look at the discrepancy between a recent TiVo poll in which viewers said they’re growing tired of reality programs and the ratings reality: Unscripted television shows have dominated this summer.

Out of broadcast TV’s 20 highest-rated programs this summer among viewers between 18 and 49 years old, 15 were reality or unscripted shows, the story says. They include "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox, "Big Brother" on CBS, “America’s Got Talent” on NBC and ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” all shows that have also performed well in previous years.

"It’s clear people have their favorite summer pastime reality shows, and they’re watching them,” said CBS research chief David F. Poltrack.

The most popular show among the demographic is "Jersey Shore," which drew 4.4 million viewers between 18 to 49, more than anything else on TV, during the week that included its Sept. 2 episode, the story says. The MTV program is a type of docu-soap, a format that the broadcast networks have generally avoided. But given the show’s success, Carter writes, "the networks might reconsider that tendency."

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