Is Reality TV Too Real?

Everybody knows that “reality” television is fake. Recently, we got even more evidence, as if we needed it. Last week, the New York Times published a profile of former contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, a show that pits overweight individuals against each other to see who can lose the most weight. The article begins … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Sarah Palin is no Judge Judy

Today we have a reality star running for president, so it should hardly be a surprise that a former elected politician is gunning for a reality show. Vice Presidential candidate and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin—already a veteran of reality television with TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska—has embarked on yet another reality television project. NBC News … Continued

Celebrities, Entertainment, Television

Why Women Still Love ‘The Bachelor’

In the heart of America’s long love affair with reality television, there is a special spot for sappy shows about love affairs. We love love, and so we love The Bachelor. The show about romance and roses, now in its twentieth season, began back in 2002, making it one of the most popular and enduring … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Is Your Child a Genius? Reality TV Thinks So

If you are wondering why there are so many suicides among young people in Silicon Valley, you needn’t bother reading Hanna Rosin’s twenty-nine-page cover story, “The Silicon Valley Suicides,” in the December 2015 of The Atlantic. You can just watch an episode of the new season of Child Genius. The show, whose second season premiered … Continued

Entertainment, Parenting, Television

Why Morning Radio is Bad for America

Reality television has been on a steady decline for years, particularly on network. TV executives have increasingly relied on celebrity-based programming like the E! Network’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians and legacy series like CBS’s Survivor, which still gets an average of more than 11 million viewers each season but is down by more than … Continued


Why We Love ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Two weeks ago NBC’s American Ninja Warrior bested The Bachelorette in the coveted 18–49 ratings demo, after the two raced neck-and-neck all summer. Last Monday night the finale episode pushed The Bachelorette to victory again, but ANW has proven to be the summer’s surprising hit. Its popularity has confounded Slate’s television critic, who asked, “What’s the … Continued

Entertainment, Television