Scripted Programming is not dead

Last week, as some in the CC were getting ready to watch their favorite program, a conflict emerged. One member had stopped watching the usual reality program. The conflict was, the program is always discussed the following day.

The member had decided to watch True Blood, a drama created and produced by Alan Ball, noted for writing American Beauty and Six Feet Under, loosely based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris.

The member’s imagination had been captured by True Blood and a full defection had occurred. True Blood, the member remarked, was engrossing and each episode ended with a cliffhanger leaving you in a state of deep anticipation.

In fact, the member had grown tired of the various reality shows and their seemingly made up drama. This may be a growing trend for the following reasons:

According to a recent research report summer TV viewing this year was at an all time high. The gains in viewership were driven by cable programming. What kind of cable programming? Among cable ad-supported programming, the most-watched new and returning programs were scripted.

The programs listed for new series were USA's "Royal Pains", Syfy's "Warehouse 13", TNT's "Hawthorne", TNT's "Dark Blue" and Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva". The most-watched returning shows were TNT's "The Closer" and four on USA: "Burn Notice", "Monk", "In Plain Sight" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent".

This may not be the complete story of scripted vs. reality, but it may signal that in these tough economic times discerning viewers prefer more storytelling and less reality.


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