Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gender in TV Ratings - Reality TV

5. As with serialized drama, reality TV can succeed with either gender, depending on what kind it is.

I'm leaving newsmagazines out of this mix because I think they're probably very story-dependent.

AFHV 50% male
Celebrity Apprentice 45% male
Howie Do It 43% male
Survivor 43% male
Hell's 42% male
Amazing Race 42% male
Idol (Wed.) 39% male
EM:HE 39% male
Idol (Tues.) 37% male
Wife Swap 34% male
Biggest Loser 33% male
Supernanny 31% male
DWTS (Tues.) 29% male
DWTS (Mon.) 28% male
ANTM 23% male

All right, I'm going to return to the sweeping stereotype I posited in previous sections: dudes watch TV for action and laughs. The stuff above the median provides that: either explicitly, with ridiculous videos/stunts as in AFHV and Howie, or in the cutthroat interactions and strategy that populate the above-median competitive reality shows. The game is the thing that takes center stage. But comedy is built to generate laughs, and genre is usually built to generate action. Reality isn't so specific, and like drama, it can succeed on other levels. Below that line, I think you hit a different kind of reality show, where it's less about a team or a competition or interplay and more about investing in the people involved, be it a performance or just through some way of making their lives better. I don't know, maybe I'm not making any sense, but I think there's a change in the type of show, and it comes right at that median line, but I'm having trouble articulating it.

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