Well done, Italian telly folk: it really is time that someone put reality telly out of its misery:
“In Italy, the state broadcaster Rai has taken an unprecedented decision to scrap them from next year. It's a decision winning popular support.
"Reality television is a dinosaur," said Italy's daily newspaper La Republicca. "After all the vulgarity, all the swearing, and the smut, it's time is finally coming to an end."
From now on the reality shows in Italy will only be found on the private Mediaset network of the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
La Republicca points to poor ratings in recent series of Italy's two most popular reality TV shows, Grande Fratello (Big Brother) on Mediaset and L'Isola dei Famosi (Celebrity Island) on Rai. Grande Fratello is said to have lost a million viewers last year.
Claudio Petruccioli, Rai's president, says his decision has been taken in line with Italy's wider efforts to improve the quality of its programming.”
Reality television makes brainless drones of us all, and chews up money that should be being spent making proper television comedy and drama. The writers are still out there, it’s only the money that’s being diverted elsewhere – like into the pockets of ice-skating rugby players, smug, pug-faced music executives and Davina bloody screeches-like-a-Macaw.
MAKE IT STOP.
Oh, and while I’m on the subject, the BBC has just trebled what it pays for the piss-poor Australian soap opera Neighbours, whose glory days ended somewhere around the time Kylie Minogue last wore dungarees. This is because a commercial channel – Channel Five – wanted to poach it. As a result, the BBC will now pay just £3 million less per year to screen cheap, shite Australian produced pap than it does to make Planet Earth.
Give that wee fact a moment’s thought, if you will.
If the BBC wants to compete with commercial channels in this way, FINE. Do it. (As it is, Channel Five is kicking your arse on viewability anyway: CSI’s Carmine vs. Andrew Lloyd ‘Free Publicity’ Webber ain’t much of a headscratcher, is it?).
But do it on an even playing field, and scrap the increasingly hard-to-justify licence fee, yes? That way you won’t even have to PRETEND to care about quality programming any more…