Like the television equivalent of Halloween’s Michael Myers, “reality” shows are the monster that just won’t die.
Broadcasters see them as the gateway drug to hook a generation who are keener on social media than the thin gruel of the nightly schedules.
It’s why ITV revived Big Brother – not a ratings hit, but it’s trending like crazy on TikTok – and why the Beeb have resurrected Survivor.
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On paper it makes sense. On screen, less so. Survivor has been a smash almost everywhere in the world except here; largely because ITV botched their version 20-odd years ago.
But to younger viewers, BBC One’s offering must feel like I’m A Celeb minus Instagram-friendly “stars”. It also feels like Total Wipeout on a beach, a less risky version of The Island with Bear Grylls, and The Apprentice with more focused tasks and less shallow bragging.
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There’s an echo of The Traitors in the plotting and scheming too. Crucially, nothing about it feels fresh. What was once groundbreaking is now entirely predictable.
The picked-to-order cast compete to win £100,000 – big money by BBC standards but far less than the £1million ITV once offered. Last weekend the revival averaged just 2.5million viewers.
Ironically, Survivor and its ilk make many older viewers feel like decamping to a desert island just to get away from it and shows like it.
A small fortune is spent chasing an audience who aren’t interested in TV while neglecting an audience of avid viewers who are…
Would it hurt to invest our licence fee dosh into formats millions would love? Odds on, someone out there, outside of the BBC’s Oxbridge circle, has got the idea for the next Fools & Horses.
Somewhere else the next Morecambe & Wise aren’t getting noticed because they don’t tick enough boxes. It’s a crying shame.
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