Reality show woes

There’s an important lesson about the new information paradigm in the ongoing reality show wars between Fox and the other networks. Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court refused to block Fox from airing its boxing reality show, “The Next Great Champ.” NBC took them to court, claiming Fox stole the idea they’ve been developing for a show called “The Contender.” You’ll recall Fox also jumped ABC on the idea of a mom-swapping reality show.

I have to come down on the side of Fox in this, and here’s why. It’s difficult to prove stealing an idea, especially in Hollywood, but I don’t think that’s the issue anyway. What’s at stake here is the belief that one can sit on an idea in today’s new age, because programmers — like other hierarchical entities in a Postmodern world — aren’t in charge anymore. Control now is clearly in the hands of consumers, and they want what they want when they want it. This is what’s birthing the year-long season and why I think NBC and ABC only have themselves to blame. Fox producers knew the others would want to wait, and that — I’m sorry — was an invitation to get screwed.

In today’s marketplace, when you’ve got something, go with it.

Speaking of reality shows, have you seen the kafuffle over the new HBO series, “Family Bonds?” It seems the star of the show, bounty hunter Thomas Evangelista, was arrested in 2001 on charges he was running a sex club on Long Island. There will be a hearing on the misdemeanor charge Monday, and Evangelista maintains innocence.

Who knew that when we started making real people into celebrities that one day we’d learn that they are, well, real people? Maybe that’s why they’re so interesting.


  1. Matt C. Wilson says

    Amen to that, Terry. Anything that helps everyone realize that we’ve all got our own problems. I’m a little tired of every petty dirty little secret blowing up into a huge “shocking exposé” on the Web.

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