Is reality TV on its way out?

With NBC's recent decision not to renew Martha Stewart's Apprentice for another season, it looks like this could be the beginning of the end for the reality TV craze. Yes, I know that NBC said that Martha Stewart's Apprentice was only intended to last one season, but I want everybody who believes that to raise your hand. Go on, raise them high. Yep, that's what I thought. The end of the reality craze has been a long time coming, but Mark Burnett held out as long as he could. Quite honestly, I was amazed that he was able to last as long as he did; it's a credit to his talent and tenacity.

Burnett's recent scorecard hasn't been very pretty. The Contender was dropped by NBC after one season, as was Martha Stewart's Apprentice. The original Apprentice is still alive and kicking, but ratings have been way down so far. Even Survivor has taken a hit; it's still a top-10 show, but it used to be much higher in the ratings. Plus, its host has indicated a desire to leave the show after his contract expires. The only other network reality shows that come to mind that even register as blips on the radar are The Amazing Race and (arguably) Big Brother, neither of which is a Mark Burnett production.

So now I'm left with two questions. Now that even the good reality shows are slowly starting to bite the dust, what will the next craze be? And will it give us plenty to rant about?

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