Sweep it under the rug already?

Sweeps is on now. For you TV fanatics, you know this is the time of year all the cliffhanger season finales happen and the reality show winners are crowned.

Some shows – like Desperate Housewives – come to an end. It is like the end of the school year and you wonder what you are going to do with all your free time this summer. The answer is probably: replace the old shows with the ones premiering in the coming weeks.

I am writing this on my way to Los Angeles where I am reporting from The Voice red carpet (go to live.jbonair.com for the highlights). During long flights to the U.S. I review my notes about the show I am covering but also read over press releases about new shows coming on the tube. I have déjà vu every time.

Later this month a show called Duets starts on ABC. You guessed it, another reality singing competition with four celebrities front and centre. If you weren’t exhausted by the likes of American Idol, The X Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, The Sing-off – you get the picture – there’s another show coming where you can just as quickly forget the name of the winner as you do with the other shows on the air.

But ABC also made headlines last week by announcing a new show called The Glass House. It is a knockoff of Big Brother, according to CBS, and the network threatened ABC with a lawsuit if it didn’t pull the plug on the alleged copycat reality show.

Which brings me to the whole reality format anyway: aren’t they all sort of spin-off-y of each other? The talent shows all have a judging panel, they all have similar elements. When did it become a problem to copy the competition?

As this TV season comes to an end we saw record ratings lows for powerhouse American Idol and even Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice have seen some number slips.

If anything, you’d think this would tell network executives not that we are tired of the one particular show (simply because there’s a dozen other look-alikes, anyway) but that the entire idea of reality TV has run its course and they need to wake up the lazy writers and producers and start hammering out some good quality scripted programming (scripted better than some of the reality shows!).

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