Viewers turning against “Reality crap”

2014-08-17_0025Viewers are frustrated by Reality Television taking over their TVs according to a wave of responses in the TV Tonight Audience Inventory for 2014.

While numbers for some Reality shows have been down lately, viewers completing the annual survey have vented in the survey’s General Comments section.

Many are making it known they are bored by Reality Television’s dominance and overruns, and are turning to Timeshifted viewing and sourcing television from overseas in response.

While Reality TV shows still rank high in weekly ratings, a number of shows have seen a drop in finales, premieres or weekly averages from preceding seasons. MasterChef was one of the recent few to buck the trend.

Here are just a sample of comments on the topic (and there are plenty more where that came from):

I hate reality TV it’s dead boring! Especially cooking shows!

Free to Air television in Australia is appalling. The availability of quality television shows that emerge from around the world is incredibly limited, even arriving on DVD months after seasons are complete overseas, resulting in the need to illegally download shows. Reality television has driven away all intelligence and quality from television.

Too many reality shows!! They cause late starts and then other programs lose watchers.

Apart from sport, nothing worth watching. xfactor/voice/dancing/block/mkr etc all crap.

Far too much REALITY junk with plastic people, cheap to make, invest in some good local drama’s for those of us with a brain!

More Australian drama and comedy please.

Hate reality TV competition shows (Voice, Masterchef, Block etc).

Australian FTA relying totally on reality shows has become incredibly boring esp as they run for up to 3 hours

Need to keep up Australian shows that aren’t reality.

Too much reality TV. I like the shows but not a whole year of it all! Exhausting.

Too much reality and not enough faith in good Aussie drama and comedy.

I find I am watching less and less FTA, especially commercial channels – I will watch specific shows either live or timeshifted if I work evenings or else Netflix which we started earlier this year. SBS and ABC continue to lead in terms of their catchup services while the commercial networks seem to be struggling to find a way to just make them work.

There is way too much reality TV shows on TV.

Substandard programing by the big 3. They drive viewers to alternative sources.

Enough with excessive reality TV, annoying pop-ups and distracting watermarks!

Sad state, compared to what it used to be. The staggered programming, designed so you can’t change channels b/w show is only doing them selves harm in the long run, because people are then forced to find other ways of watching tv.

Needs a lot more fast tracking and a lot less reality television.

Too much reality rubbish and TBBT pushing drama later and later.

Increasingly turning off, too much reality crap.

A lot more can be done to keep the younger audience entertained, like more Aussie content and less reality.

Really sick of programmes starting late and FTA channels not being consistent in keeping a show on until series has finished or changing times and days around. Also very sick of shows such as The Block, The Voice and X Factor. A lot of reality shows just go on far to long and over time making others late and if you set to record miss the end of what you want to watch.

This is the final week of polling for the Audience Inventory 2014.

If you’d like to have your say you have until Friday.


  1. The problem with the reality shows is they are starting to be predictable. They are all scripted, they run way over time at the expense of other content such as drama and comedies.
    The 3 big networks have a contempt for their viewers and think they are stupid. It is time they woke up and started fixing their programming.
    Their are so many good dramas on, Australian and over seas but they are being shuffled around to the point that the viewer never knows when they are on. Bones, APTCH, House Husbands and more are all prime examples of that. Then you have the issue with the 7 Network not putting all their show on their Plus 7 website to catch up it you miss it because the previous reality show has run way over time.
    I have just shifted to netflix… Pay TV in Australia is to expensive and has to many reruns.

  2. barrington bumbaclaart

    @TV Fanatic – in my observation, viewing figures are generally down when compared to those say 15 years ago – especially when you take population growth into account. Most recently the numbers aren’t as huge as they have been or could be. Stripping shows, repeating formats twice a year, overrunning time slots and flooding the market with rubbish is driving the audience, particularly younger viewers, away.

    • I’ve tried to answer this but will endeavour to do so again. Some reality shows are performing well but not all. X Factor is down this season, Voice Kids finished with disappointing numbers, and the main show ended lower too. We know Biggest Loser struggled, Dance really died despite their good talent. The Block, MKR, MasterChef and House Rules did well. It’s still too early to know how Bachelor will translate as a series.

      The comments indicate viewers are overwhelmed by the amount of hours, both as seasons and as nightly overruns. As a result there is an increase in timeshifted viewing, and sourcing overseas choices (whether legally or not). In this context such fatigue could impact long term. Social media was early to identify illegal piracy which many execs dismissed as just the plaything of a few young rebels. History has shown that is not the case, and we are seeing more reality as a way to drive ‘live viewing’ as a result. But TV is also cyclical. Before Reality we had a slew of Factual and before that Lifestyle.

  3. Michael Young

    The best “reality” show I have seen in a very long time was the recent season of Britain’s Got Talent. It was exceptional and leaves ALL the others for dead, particularly our lame and predictable offerings here in Aus. All the rest are only worth recording and fast forwarding through if there may be someone interesting on them, which is rare. The “cooking” shows are excruciatingly boring. I do love Ru Paul’s Drag Race though, that is fabulous!!!
    Bring back A Place to Call Home!!!

  4. I’m sick of watching reality television especially on the Nine Network. Channel Nine has lots of reality shows like The Block, The Voice, When Love Comes To Town and Big Brother. And Nine has the reputation of ‘trash reality tv.’ I don’t like watching Big Brother because this show is too outrageous.

  5. I personally won’t be sorry to see Reality TV die. I think most people got tired of it a long time ago. However I wonder what the financially strapped networks will put in its place? Reality is much cheaper to make than a good quality drama. And many people have abandoned FTA for good. Internet is quicker and has less ads. So where is the future for FTA? Its not looking rosy.

  6. Absolutely love Amazing Race and Survivor – but not into any of these reality shows that now air over multiple nights and over excessive hours.

    Amazing Race and Survivor are (usually) one hour per week – and that is plenty. The other week when the first new Aus Amazing Race ep aired it was over 2 hours and seemed to go on forever.

    Point is – one hour a week is plenty!

    I remember years ago when GO! started they played several seasons of Survivor over multiple nights (I think 5 a week at one stage) – despite loving the show it was just too much in one go…

    And this is the problem most people are having with these shows now (Block, XF, MChef, Voice, etc)… too many hours per week to invest.

  7. Obviously I’m in the minority, but I love reality TV. it’s my favourite genre, and pretty much the only thing i watch as its screened.


    I really hate the trend of not finishing at times that make sense, so you cant keep up with anything on any other channel. I’ve just given up on trying to watch a drama series on the TV. because every week it’s on at a different time, and if i want to flick over as it starts I’ll miss the last 15 minutes of my reality show.
    i know its just a trick they do to keep you watching the same channel all night. But it’s shit.

  8. The commercial FTA networks has essentially gone down the “Commercial FM talk radio with pictures” route.

    Their biggest challenge to their business model is the disruptive effect of internet based alternative sources, so their solution seems to be rather than adapt, innovate or mutichannel they seem to drive their audience further into the arms of alternative content providers. Cost cutting death spiral anyone? Ring any bells?

    The bosses of Netflix, Telstra and iTunes should send them a royalty cheque for each new user! Consumers delivered to them on a plate.

  9. Maev....Sydney

    I am not into reality TV as such…but it has its place…If…it ran to a set time…and started and finished on time…like most other shows have to….
    Right now it is like the delinquent, black sheep child of the TV world…just does what it wants, when it wants and without any consequences…and in the process…messes up everything else.

  10. I cannot believe I am doing this but…

    I concur with Pertinax. This survey is a microcosm of a very small group of viewers in this country. Unfortunately, most do not think as we do…

    The biggest problem I have with “reality” is not the show, it’s the programming. These shows are recorded days (weeks?) in advance, yet the networks think we are so stupid that we believe that something “amazing” happened and so the show “simply must” run overtime without prior notice. They even had the unmitigated gall to say this in an interview David did with them a few weeks ago. This is pure BS. We know it, they know it. They just don’t care :(

  11. I am sick to death of reality TV!!!! Especially Singing Competitions!!! I dont watch them at all!!! Singing shows are dying right before our eyes!!!

  12. It’s worth pointing out that while Reality TV still rates in Australia, some years ago when I filed on a trend of illegal downloading, some execs dismissed this as the plaything of a small number of wayward youths. How things have changed.

  13. The point I’d make is that the networks should be utilizing their multi-channels to provide alternatives to reality TV.
    In fact I’d say that 7Two and Gem have had real success with that recently.

  14. Used to enjoy reality back in the early 00s with shows like Survivor and Big Brother, nowadays, I could not be bothered. In fact, I can’t be bothered with FTA overall (except the ABC), so much so that I sold my TV set and now only watch online TV from overseas and here at home (You Tube, Netflix, Hulu etc) via my PC, and hopefully a Tablet later this year.

    Only real decent show on FTA at the moment is Doctor Who, and the only decent news I’m getting is from online newspapers (except the Murdoch Press), and the ABC via iView.

  15. I myself enjoy reality shows apart from mkr with all that bitchy stuff. What I don’t like is being taken advantage of by networks deliberately over running and padding shows. If they were shorter and finished on the half hour and then allow drama to start on time it would be simpler. american idol can start finish on time and doesn’t pad. Xfac and voice should be able to. Three hours of xfac was a bit over the top

  16. Scripted dramas don’t get the same numbers as reality shows because people don’t watch them live. It’s hard to watch a drama on tv now because you don’t know when it is going to start.

    if you tune in to watch a drama at 8:40 (scheduled time), it often doesn’t start until after 9pm due to reality show overrun. It’s easier to timeshift dramas and watch in your own time. News, sport and reality are easier to watch live, because they tend to start at the scheduled time. So they top the overnight ratings, while scripted shows do better in consolidated numbers.

  17. I wouldn’t say viewers are turning against reality tv, it’s just that the haters love to be so vocal about hating it for some reason.

    Oh and I just love how so many non-reality watchers think that they are so much more intelligent than the rest of us. Ridiculous!

  18. Commercial FTA TV in Australia is the worst in the world.

    Viewers are treated with contempt as the networks try to point score with each other.

    Where are all the dramas and comedies? Oh that’s right they don’t rate well anymore…maybe its because they are on at 8.51 one week, not on the next and then 9.37 the week after.

    The only thing they are doing is killing themselves in the long run.

  19. harrypotter1994

    It’s funny how networks think only reality will work these days. Just a few years ago in 2008/9 we had 7 winning every Tues nite with RSPCA/ Find My Family then PTTR / All Saints. Would be nice to have that again

  20. I don’t mind reality TV, but its gotten to the point where it has taken precedence over other genres, especially drama. The best example would be House Husbands. I assume its a flagship local drama investment for Nine, and yet it is being bounced around the schedule to accommodate reality television. Ditto for Sunday Night as Seven’s flagship current affairs program. I think this indicates a serious problem.

  21. Looks like viewer fatigue has well and truly set in regarding Reality TV.

    The main problem is that there’s just way too much of it.
    Also it’s too much of a viewer commitment having shows like The Block on for 5 days a week, sometimes for hours.
    Channels need to trim shows like this back to a couple of nights per week and provide quality alternatives on the other nights.

  22. My time-shifting is 100%, do not watch anything live anymore including the ABC and SBS. While I am willing to accept that there are some people out there that watch reality (by the ratings figures), my biggest gripe about reality shows is that they become all encompassing and interfere with the start times of other shows. Luckily my T-Box series records and the schedule is updated hourly, however for others (like my parents who only have a Panasonic DVD PVR), I know it is a consent chase of the schedule each day.

    The best indicator of how unreal reality is, is back when on Big Brother Merlin did the refugee protest along with the Turkey Slap. They couldn’t handle how real it can get and now make sure stuff like that doesn’t happen again. Sure the turkey slap was bad, however now it is sanitised to such extremes that anything resembling how real things can be is gone.

    The best…

  23. For me I’m only watching X Factor at the moment. The Block is too big of a commitment – too many nights. And I used to be a big fan – but the time commitment, plus the casting this season hasn’t made me want to commit. I was able to keep up with the first season this year because of the weekend omnibus – but no option this time.

  24. Never been a fan of reality shows like The Block, Big Brother and Master Chef. I think I only ever watched one ep of Survivor. I’d rather watch a good drama, sitcom or scifi show. Other infotainment shows like Top Gear and Mythbusters are always fun.

    Hopefully networks will listen an put more money into scripted shows.

  25. We watchThe Block each night but that’s the only reality. We will give BB a go (looks like they have done something interesting watching the promos) and then it’s back to DVDs untill Feb next year. In 2015 my predictions are that MKR ratings will soften in 2015 YoY (it started as soon as they got in kitchen headquarters this year) and The Block will be pushing viewer fatigue if they do a third double series year. House Rules will rate well as a the show is still developing in what will be its third series, but this will probably be the last growth year. Singing, dancing and loosing weight is already dead.

  26. Love reality TV, huge fan of majority of them, but I of course also love drama and comedy shows. If you don’t like reality TV then don’t watch, sick of ppl complaining about it, that is super annoying.

  27. jezza the first original one

    I concur with most comments

    What I hate about reality crap is

    1. It is fake and has little to do with reality (eg The Bachelor)
    2. Contrived or even scripted drama within the concept.
    3. Re-caps after ads….fffs Why?
    4. Multiple endings……fake fake fake (eg MKR)
    5. But most of all… really is crap

  28. All the reality tv and erratic scheduling has lead me to time shifting what TV I do actually watch (other than news and sport – which always start at the right time). I watch a lot more Netflix and pay tv on my Fetch box now than FTA.

  29. The ultimate irony of course is that “Reality” TV is in fact anything but reality. As someone who has been involved in the design/construction industry for 40 years, the renovation/building shows are the most unreality examples of the industry I have ever seen. By all means have a building/renovation show, but the staged dramatics, the ridiculous challenges to design anything from a lampshade to a coffee table are so far removed from the industry to make me sick.
    And as for renovating piecemeal, one room at a time, tell em their dreaming. Not to mention the previous series of The Block where they were building rooms without the roof being on, seriously? And don’t get me started on the idea of people living on a building site whilst under construction! I’m sure its illegal and raises Health and Safety issues. But I’m sure Scotty and Keith the site supervisor have it all under…

  30. I suspect people like to vent about reality TV but still watch. How come excellent drama like Rake, Offspring etc are lucky to get 1m per ep, yet the major reality TV shows do this easily most nights.

  31. I’m pretty much over all the reality formats too. I use to watch Xfactor, Block, Voice, BB, all of that, but now they’re all getting way to repetitive! The only one I still watch nowadays is BB, the rest of them have become completely unwatchable!

  32. The site is a fansite for TV lovers and has a lot of people who appreciate quality TV. It is not representative of how the population has a whole vote with their remotes. If people stop watching talent shows live and start watching dramas and sitcoms the schedules will fill with them.

  33. The amount of video viewing has increased slightly with digital technology but less of it is live FTA. Dramas and sitcoms and M rated so can’t be shown at 7:30pm and people started timeshifting them with VCRs and this increased with multi-tuner DVRs, streaming and downloading.

    That is why networks switched to talent shows and staggered programming to fight over a declining live audience. In the long run this will increase timeshifting, but that is inevitable anyway now that $10/m download sites and the NBN are coming.

    Many of the talent shows have been around for a while so people will get bored, especially mediocre seasons. The networks will need to freshen them and tried to find some new forms to keep viewers interested.

  34. The worst part for me is the constant encores and re-runs. The seven network had the same MKR show running on all 3 networks on the same day. This is madness.

  35. For me, I don’t mind reality TV (it depends on the show) but I hate if a program is on multiple times a week when it doesn’t have to (X-factor and BB, get a pass in this department because their format is one that has to be shown multiple times a week, even though I still hate both shows for other reasons)

  36. Catch up services of the commercial networks need work. They all fail in their own unique ways. For example 7 are getting greedy during home and away with the ads increased to 5 per ad break with most 30 seconds long. Good luck with channel nine having their shows posted to jump in within a reasonable time frame. Can take till late next morning for footy classified to be posted. Sometimes on tenplay the advertisements overwrite the content and on their windows phone app there is no wonderland. At a minimum Australian shows should be on their app. At least the have an app on windows phone. 7, 9 and abc don’t.

  37. Not watching any reality at the moment. Had enough of it. TV is really boring at the moment. The only show upcoming new show that sounds interesting Party Tricks. It’s like the networks have lost a few brain cells and can’t be bothered creating anything new. Anything on the box that was half decent just isn’t anymore.

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