Everybody’s keeping it real » Media in Canada

Everybody’s keeping it real

Summertime (theoretically) and the living is sleazy. Why, you may ask? Because the flow of reality programming is continuing unabated and seemingly no one can get enough. From trailer park inhabitant makeovers to tattooed rocker Tommy Lee going to college, this low-rent fare often pays high dividends to broadcasters and, in turn, advertisers. But is enough enough?

'Some formats are going to see a bit of a decline because they've been around for a while,' says Doner Canada SVP/media director Theresa Treutler. 'People are always interested in something new. I'm not confident that Idol and Big Brother will do as well as last year.'

Summertime (theoretically) and the living is sleazy. Why, you may ask? Because the flow of reality programming is continuing unabated and seemingly no one can get enough. From trailer park inhabitant makeovers to tattooed rocker Tommy Lee going to college, this low-rent fare often pays high dividends to broadcasters and, in turn, advertisers. But is enough enough?

‘Some formats are going to see a bit of a decline because they’ve been around for a while,’ says Doner Canada SVP/media director Theresa Treutler. ‘People are always interested in something new. I’m not confident that Idol and Big Brother will do as well as last year.’

She points out that reality is up against some top-notch drama in the fight for viewers who are often too busy to watch much TV. ‘There’s so much competition for a steady viewing base,’ she says. It’s tough for the average viewer to fit in watching everything they want to.’

In addition she notes that many people use the summer to become acquainted with good shows they missed during the year because the nets often pit two shows a particular viewer might be interested in against each other.

‘It’s the program that drives the viewing, not the genre,’ she says. ‘Had Amazing Race been coming to CTV this summer, I would have been expressing real enthusiasm.’ She questions whether the broadcasters are running so much reality because of demand or because the shows are cheap and can be lucrative.

And what do advertisers think of it? Says Treutler: ‘Our clients ask us to use our judgment on whether something pushes the envelope too far and is it appropriate for the target and the brand.’

But we’ll let you decide. Here are some of the reality shows planned for this summer, with the Canadian net picking it up shown in brackets, where known. Note: Global will also be airing its own My Fabulous Gay Wedding (preeming Wednesday, June 1 at 10 p.m. – Ont./Que./B.C.; 9 p.m. – Man./Sask.; and 8 p.m. – Maritimes/Alta.

ABC

Dancing With The Stars: Adaptation of the British Strictly Come Dancing ballroom dancing competition series featuring original Bachelorette Trista Sutter. Preems Wednesday, June 1 at 9 p.m. for six eps. (CTV)

Brat Camp: A tough-love show in which six out-of-control teens are sent away to a behaviour camp in the Utah wilderness in order to try to tame them. Preem TBA. (CTV)

CBS

Fire Me – Please: Each week two people start new jobs and try to be fired the first day so they can win $25,000. Preems Tuesday, June 7 at 9 p.m.

The Cut: Tommy Hilfiger pits 16 contestants against each other for a change to design their own collection under his label. The first of four eps preems Thursday, June 9 at 8 p.m. (GLOBAL)

Rock Star: INXS: Reality maestro Mark Burnett combines rock music with relationship-style unscripted drama. People get eliminated of course. Runs three times per week, preeming Monday, July 11 at 9 p.m. (GLOBAL)

And Big Brother returns, running three times per week beginning Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m. (GLOBAL)

NBC

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Granada America produces a local edition of the British music reality series for NBC in which veteran musicians perform their hits and cover a popular contemporary song. Then the audience votes for their favourite artist. No potential for humiliation there. Preems Thursday, June 2.

I Want to be a Hilton: Contestants vie for the chance to live a glamorous life while Paris’s mom Kathy teaches them the do’s and don’ts of the haute monde. Preems Tuesday, June 21. (GLOBAL)

The Law Firm: Real lawyers try actual court cases for eight eps until one wins $250,000. From David Kelley. Preems Wednesday, July 27. (CTV)

Meet Mister Mom: Mom takes off for a week leaving dad in charge. Hijinks presumably ensue. Preems Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Tommy Lee Goes to College: For six eps, in Nebraska, no less. Preems Tuesday, Aug. 9. (CTV)

New rounds of Average Joe (GLOBAL) and The Biggest Loser (GLOBAL) also launch.

Fox

Hell’s Kitchen: A British chef opens an L.A. restaurant. Preems Monday, May 30.

The Princes of Malibu: Two adult brothers, the sons of Olympian Bruce Jenner and songwriter Linda Thompson (who is now married to Canadian songwriter David Foster) live in a mansion with their mom and stepdad. Preems Sunday, July 10.

So You Can Dance: American Idol for hoofers who can’t sing. Preems Wednesday, July 20.

The WB

Beauty and the Geek: Seven hot chicks and seven ubernerds pair up to solve intellectual and fashion challenges, including, yes, having the babes try to build a rocket. In the end, someone walks away with $250,000 – probably exec prod Ashton Kutcher. Preems Wednesday, June 1 at 8 p.m., Friday, June 17 on CTV. (CTV)
MTV

Trailer Fabulous: 10-ep parody of makeover shows in which a young trailer park denizen gets a personal and mobile home transformation. Preem TBA.

With files from Patti Summerfield.