Fox's New Channel Gets Real

15 July 2004

So-called 'reality' television -- currently the caffeine of US TV programming -- has received its biggest boost yet with the upcoming launch of a new channel devoted solely to the genre.

News Corporation, whose products worldwide are not usually associated with 'reality' [the world or the state of things as they actually exist: New Oxford English Dictionary], plans to launch a 100% reality channel in Q1 2005.

It will offer new shows plus such mouthwatering add-ons as "contestant commentary, pre and post-show interviews, auditions, out-takes and behind-the-scenes clips".

Reality shows now dominate US TV's prime-time slots, Fox Broadcasting leading the tawdry field with such hits as American Idol and The Simple Life.

Fox, as ever, follows in others' footsteps. America is already pampered with two reality cable channels, although the new venture will almost certainly achieve far greater market penetration.

Many media-watchers and anthropologists argue there is no such thing as reality on television. Point a TV camera in the direction of any Westernized humanoid and he, she or it will conjure a performance that would put to shame Shakespeare's Rude Mechanicals. Or Jack Nicholson.

Tawdry, 'reality' TV may be; but it's cheap. And does for ratings what the V-pill does for parts of the male anatomy that even Heineken cannot reach.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff