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Two Cents

"As the reality shows multiplied, the humiliations blurred and became boringly alike. On The Bachelor, and on Mr. Personality, though, the novelty lies in heightening the clash between the upper middle class and blue-collar America, a leitmotif of previous reality shows, but that has now become prominent."

Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times, on the difference between the newest crop of reality shows and their predecessors.

"From television's glossy perspective, the world is awash in dull Dicks and plain Janes with very little in the way of taste or natural beauty."

Melanie McFarland, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, on ABC's new reality show Extreme Makeover.

"With cable news returning to life without all war all the time, the search for the next big story
turned into a spirited scrum yesterday. The biotoxin scares, the SARS crisis, and the complicated aftermath of Saddam Hussein's fall all vied for attention."

Mark Jurkowitz, The Boston Globe, on television's return to the Laci Peterson murder case.

"Hitler, Madonna and a mullet gone bad. These are just a few of the stars of one of the strangest May sweeps in recent years."

Mark Perigard, Boston Herald; the mullet refers to Billy Ray Cyrus's new off-air haircut, which will get on-air treatment in his series Doc.

"No longer content to merely buy time when remote controls and digital video recorders like TiVo make ad-skipping its own participation sport, sponsors are weaseling into programs in a manner that hearkens back to the men of Texaco introducing Milton Berle."

Brian Lowry, Los Angeles Times, on rampant product placement.

"The first hint that this is not your usual opera comes long before the diaper-clad fat guy sings, before the line of Ku Klux Klan members does a snappy dance in white robes and masks, before the chorus exclaims, 'My mom used to be my dad!'"

Fawn Vrazo, The Philadelphia Inquirer, on Jerry Springer—The Opera.

"They can say what they want, but network television executives are taking viewers for granted. They're jerking around their schedules and in the process messing with our loyalties toward their shows. And if they're not careful, their short-sighted lineup rejiggering could cost them in the long run."

David Bianculli, New York's Daily News, on the networks' practice of dropping weaker programs in favor of repeats of stronger shows during sweeps periods.