The ‘temptation’ of reality television

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Surviving on rats in the wilderness and testing the strength of a relationship through temptation are only two of the story lines that make-up the new fad of reality television shows. Sam Houston’s radio/television majors and professors share varying opinions on the merit and purpose of such shows.Veronica Donovan, a freshman RTV major, who hopes to someday broadcast an entertainment show, said her favorite is “Temptation Island,” which airs on FOX Wednesdays at 9 p.m.. “It’s just more interesting than the other reality shows out there,” she said. “Temptation Island” is a show that cast four couples on an island. The couple is separated and sent in opposite directions to be tempted by several people of the opposite sex. Will the relationship last?, is the question that the show will answer.”It’s all about the money anyway,” Donovan said. “You have to look at it only as entertainment.”Jeffrey Porsche, an RTV professor, agrees with Donovan. “I never discourage my students from writing quality television but it is very hard to sell,” he said. He adds, if his students want to be successful they will probably fall into the trend of creating typical shows that people will watch. Porsche is not against all reality television shows. “Some are better than others,” he said. “Survivor is a good show because it was an original idea.” CBS’ “Survivor,” which airs Thursday at 9 p.m. cast several people on a deserted area of land with limited resources. Every week a different person is kicked-off the show by his or her fellow cast members, and the last one remaining is the “survivor.””Survivor” combines the reality theme with the game show theme, allowing the cast to win certain prizes, Porsche said.He said he believes “Temptation Island” is morally questionable but he understands it’s purpose from a business point of view. “It’s a simple business decision that is based on money.”Porsche explains why this fad will not last long. “If you compare reality television to the game show fad you can see why,” he said.The game show that started the tidal wave was “How To Be a Millionaire,” hosted by Regis Philbin, airs on ABC. After its premiere a number of game shows appeared which are no longer on the air, for example “Twenty One” and “Greed.”Porsche said his script writing curriculum has not had to change with the addition of this trend. “That’s the good part of reality game shows,” he said. “They write themselves. You may have create a theme or plot but there are no lines.”Juniors Jennifer English and Jennifer Shoefstall spend a great amount of time in the RTV department, and have pondered the merit of reality television.Both enjoy the “Real World” due to its ability to relate to its audience and candidness. English, a communications major, believes the television industry should be more purposeful.”But it’s all about what more people will watch,” she said.Schoefstall who watches the “Real World” said she thinks all other reality shows are useless.”At least on the “Real World,” they are not eating rats and cheating on their girlfriends,” she said.Both students agree that it bothers them that there is so much “garbage” on the air.According to Porsche it all boils down to what people will watch. The more viewers watch, the more advertisements are generated, and ultimately the more money. And that is what the industry is about.