(FSView & Florida Flambeau) (U-WIRE) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- May 31, 2000, is a day that will live in infamy. No one died or was sent to jail -- it was the first day "Survivor" aired on television.
This reality show, after the first season, single-handedly sparked a trend that is more rampant today than ever. Still, networks hadn't picked up on the complete and utter fascination America has with watching "reality" shows until the success of "Survivor."
Now there is essentially a reality show covering every facet of life, from plastic surgery on "I Want a Famous Face," to extravagant birthday parties on "My Super Sweet 16."
Along with the interest in reality TV, Americans are captivated by the notion of celebrities, which is evident considering the tremendous sales of tabloid magazines. Mix these two concepts together and what do you get? A sort of pseudo-reality: Celeb-reality. This new trend has spread like wildfire, and as executives hoped, has attracted viewers like a moth to a flame.
Over the past year or so, networks from MTV to NBC have invested in B-list celebrities and child stars to "entertain" America. When MTV's "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" aired, the couple was already popular in the music industry, but little did Jessica know, she would soon be infamous because of a silly comment about tuna fish. This show not only boosted ratings, but also gave Jessica Simpson a movie career.
If a sitcom could do that for her, imagine what one could do for Britney Spears. Wait a second, I believe Ms. Spears did have her own reality show with now-husband Kevin Federline. She not only starred in "Chaotic," but also played the part of the cameraman for much of the duration of the show. Chaotic? More like psychotic.
Child actors such as Christopher Knight (better known as Peter Brady), were featured in VH1's "The Surreal Life" last year. He now stars in his own show "My Fair Brady" on the same network. This new reality show documents the test of his relationship with America's "Next Top Model" winner, Adrianne Curry. Here lies another prime example of the fusion of celebrity and reality TV, yet only time will tell how that works out.
Remember that cute little redhead Danny Partridge? Well he's all grown up and not so cute anymore. "Breaking Bonaduce" aired Sept. 11 and reveals the train-wreck that is his life and marriage. After seeing five minutes of this show, I just felt sorry for him.
Another B-list celebrity hoping to make it back into the spotlight is Bobby Brown. "Being Bobby Brown" is every bit the mess that is Bonaduce's show (and life), with Brown's over-the-top personality and bizarre antics. After seeing one episode the first thing I wondered was: What happened to Whitney Houston? You can't understand a word she says, and she is consistently disheveled and a bit aloof. I think he may have knocked some screws loose a few years back.
However, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I saw that
"Dancing With the Stars" was the highest rated network show last season. That fact alone nearly brought a tear to my eye. What have TV executives come to and what are they thinking when they decide to air a show featuring heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield, John O'Hurley (AKA "Seinfeld's" Mr. Peterman) and Joey McIntyre (formerly of New Kids on the Block) in a ballroom dance competition?
If you can't find anything on TV between the four "Law and Order" shows or the continuously expanding family of "CSI," rest assured you can find some slight satisfaction in watching the comeback of celebrities making a mockery of themselves.
But when it comes down to it, I don't want to see major league slugger/juicer Jose Canseco prancing around on "The Surreal Life" in pink ladies panties. But that's just me.
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