Reality vs. Scripts

Variety writer Rick Kissell posted an interesting article on May 21st about the American idol finale. He spoke of how there were 32 million people watching as that was a 3% increase over the ho-hum finale last year of Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks. He said these numbers wee released by Nielson Media Research. The Tuesday night show was the highest rated since March. The other networks did not fair as well, ABC Dancing with the Stars finale was viewed by just over 20 million people, which was the lowest rated finale in the history of that show. This could be as American are getting more used to competition reality programming or being drowned by it. They have a new sense of comparing one year versus another. They know the show will return next year with a new cast and the interest will peak again. The problem with reality TV compared to a scripted drama. The main characters in a scripted drama return every week and as the season roles to the end so does the arc of the character which make you not only want to see the finale but wait for the show to return as most have cliffhanging results. A reality show is different although on could argue the arc of the character is the same. The excitement for watching David Cook rise to American Idol was great for his fans. If you flip that on it side if you were a fan of one of the other contestants or were not impressed with either singing style of Cook or Archuleta then there was no excitement for you to invest. The only comparison that comes to mind is you watch the Sopranos every week one season as the season winds down things are coming to a head from multiple directions. Three weeks before the end of the season, all the Sopranos are killed in an explosion. Watching the show after that would be a let down; this is a fundamental flaw in Reality TV that makes it better one season than another.