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Newspaper Story on Reality TV Quotes Prof. Jeff McCall '76

October 15, 2003

October 15, 2003, Greencastle, Ind. - "'Reality TV is much cheaper to produce than dramas with big stars,' said Jeff McCall, a professor of communication arts and sciences at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana," notes an article in the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The paper's Robert Morast writes, "Critics said reality television's latest evolution was supposed to be like disco -- a hyper-popular fad with a relatively fast burnout. But three years after CBS's reality cash cow Survivor became the surprise hit of a bland summer schedule, and 12 years after The Real World changed reality TV forever, the voyeuristic genre still is going strong."

Later in the story, Dr. McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, says, "I think people watch this for the elements of bizarre. There's a sick sensation by watching humans in risk or fail. We criticize people who stop at the side of a road to watch traffic accidents ... in a sense, it's the same thing as that." Morast adds, "While he isn't surprised reality TV has endured this long, McCall said he expects the mass popularity to be gone in 10 years. And he doesn't think Reality Central [a new cable network devoted entirely to reality television set to launch in January] will be successful. 'We had primetime soaps, and those drifted off. We had primetime game shows, and they drifted off,' McCall said. 'I think (reality TV) will stay around in some form, but probably not to this degree.'"

You can access the story at the newspaper's Web site by clicking here.

Source: Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader

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