I am Thomas. I am guest-blogging. If you know me at all, you know me from my comments here, and at Feministing and Mouse Words.
This from Feministing. Now, we can all be adults and admit that we have each succumbed and watched some crappy reality television (though each of us probably secretly thinks that the garbage everyone else watches is worse than the garbage we watch). Or, even if we don’t own a television, Idol and some of the others are so ubiquitous that events on these shows have been treated by the MSM as real news. In an effort to keep this phenomenon from further atrophying my brain, I’d like to pause to actually think about it.
Some contestants in game shows called “reality TV” get kicked off for making porn (define it how you like). Some don’t. Some get kicked off for committing acts of domestic violence (I’m speaking of Big Brother, here). It looks like many more don’t — This jerk, the guy from “Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire” and others.
Here’s the question: is it completely ideosyncratic? Do producers just wing it? Are the networks or producers actually trying to apply criteria of any kind?
I assume at some level, they are just trying to maximize the audience and keep the advertisers from getting skittish. But are they flying blind? Do they test run each contestant “scandal” by some advertisers before making a decision? How does this work? Of course, what they do in the end is a reflection of their biases no matter how they purport to reason to the conclusion — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to know how they get there.