Editorial: Network ‘reality’ shows take ideas from MTV originals

By on February 8, 2001

After enjoying a visit from former MTV “Real World” cast members Julie, Danny, and Puck, I found myself reminiscing about the “Real World”/”Road Rules” seasons that I have had the pleasure of watching since the beginning. Then, I saw a commercial for CBS’s “Survivor.”
I will go on the record by saying that “Survivor” is a good show. It is, in fact, probably one of the best of the reality based shows that I believe were created in the likeness of MTV’s pioneer reality shows.
“Survivor,” a television show where strangers compete on an island for a chance to win one million dollars (and have their lives taped in the process), was only the beginning. Lucky for CBS, the show has become an unbelievable hit, premiering new seasons for the past two years right after the Superbowl. However, when CBS premiered “Big Brother,” I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Big Brother,” which bore a striking resemblance to MTV’s “Real World” caught the every move of its houses inhabitants with the worse camera angles I have ever seen in my life. The footage seemed like it was taken by a hand held video camera, and the scenes aired on the show were long and unbearable.
Now comes Fox’s “Temptation Island.” Honestly, I believe this show is just “Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire,” “Real World,” and even “Survivor” wrapped up in one. Here, the couples are faced with the possibility of starting a new, interesting relationship with someone they never met before. They are thrown together on an island with beautiful men and women, which leaves plenty of room for temptation. The idea of the show is to see if the couples’ love will “survive” after their time on the island.
I believe that the original is always the best. I do not think that any network can do as good of a job as “my MTV.” The major networks have to concern themselves with the wide demographics that they have to satisfy, unlike MTV, which targets a strictly younger audience.
MTV finds a way to take the most interesting and appealing scenes from each of the cast’s lives on both shows. I have heard that during each season, the viewers are basically seeing only about 24 hours worth of footage taking over the five months that the tapings for “Real World” and “Road Rules” took place. The story line keeps moving, and it can do so in a suspenseful and sometimes comedic way.
One example of what may be the fate of the major network’s reality based shows is the disappearance of the countless number of shows that resembled “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” These shows all began to air after the original became a hit. However, you can’t find “Greed” or “21” in the TV Guides anymore now. Sorry TVLand, Regis came through for ABC, the innovator.
It just maybe time for a “reality” check, and the best way to see which show really knows what it’s doing is by giving all of them a trial run. Turn on your television to MTV this coming season, and just wait to hear the famous first words of the reality show pioneer: “This is the true story of seven strangers….”


About Kristen Daley