It’s good news for those of us who thought that Reality TV was a blight on the cultural landscape right up there with diseased rodents and the great works of Richard Simmons. Mark Burnett’s latest effort, Pirate Master has crashed badly. Unfortunately what is succeeding mainly consists of game shows, which is hardly any comfort to those of us hoping that summer would be a time to launch some of those long shot shows that would become memorable hits, ala Third Rock from the Sun. Game shows. Game shows. Game shows and nothing to watch but luckily there’s the internet.
While the networks throw any idiotic game show premise at the tube and hope one of them sticks, e.g. Jimmy Kimmel’ Set for Life, Don’t Forget the Lyrics and Singing Bee, smarter viewers and just people who want something to watch that doesn’t involve judges, hosts and shrieking idiot contestants, are continuing the exodus to the internet leaving network ratings back down. In reality it appears to be that even more than game shows, talent shows are what’s winning the day, suggesting American Idol isn’t quite dead yet as a phenomenon or that the ability to watch the humiliation of contestants is more entertaining than watching people vote each other off an island or out of the mansion. That would be sad but all too predictable.
Now Pirate Master is dead with CBS forcing it to walk the plank (hey whatdya want I’m a TV critic. We make bad jokes like that for a living) after only a handful of episodes and cutting its loses. Right now NBC is keeping its head above water with The Singing Bee but just barely. We’ll see what sort of TV leaves fall brings blowing our way.