Magazine article ADWEEK

Networks Say Fall Lineups Will Keep a Grip on Reality: Programmers: Nonscripted Shows Won't Crowd Lineups, despite Success

Magazine article ADWEEK

Networks Say Fall Lineups Will Keep a Grip on Reality: Programmers: Nonscripted Shows Won't Crowd Lineups, despite Success

Article excerpt

NEW YORK Reality television has been the rage of the February sweeps for the broadcast networks, attracting young, upscale professional viewers and ensuring the genre will continue to be a vital part of the programming landscape tot the foreseeable future. But will the networks overplay the reality card in assembling their fall 2004 season lineups? So far, network programmers insist they know the limits of the genre.

Some reality' shows are a lock: CBS' Survivor, Fox's American Idol NBC's Fear Factor and ABC's The Bachelor/Bachelorette are schedule staples and proven magnets for adults ages 18-49. The latest hit, NBC's The Apprentice, is averaging a whopping 9.3 rating in the demographic. But media buyers cautioned that their tolerance for reality shows this fall will not extend to copycats or untested new ideas.

"If a scripted show flops in the fall, there is nothing wrong with replacing it with a reality show," said Steve Sternberg, evp, director of audience analysis at Magna Global USA in New York. "But the danger is if the networks begin to put more reality' on the fall schedule while cutting back on their scripted development. It's the one thing that still distinguished [them] from cable."

Rino Scanzoni, president of broadcast at Mediaedge: cia in New York, said that for a reality show to work, the concept has to be innovative, with either "compelling storytelling" or strong entertainment value, and it cannot be a "knockoff of some other show. …

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