TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As 2009 winds down to its final hours, so does an historic decade. Bush versus Gore, 9-11 and two wars, all topped off with the election of America's first black president. But, it might also be known as the decade television died...scripted television that is.
"My favorite show is The Hills," said Laura Fry. "It's my guilty pleasure."
"Jersey Shore," said Tina Anderson.
"The Amazing Race," said Rachael Bressman.
"Big Brother [is my favorite], just for the drama and the unpredictability of it," said Jeremy Johnson.
But, you can't talk about reality television, without talking about the show that swept the world off it's feet: American Idol, which debuted in 2002.
Nearly 10-million viewers watched the premiere. But, the show quickly picked up steam. More than 20-million people tuned into the finale. Now, it is the highest rated television show in America, and it is one of only three shows in the history of television to rank number one for five consecutive years.
"I like the auditions," said Bobby Bressman. "All those people sing, and...[I] get to make fun of them."
Dancing with the Stars has been a pleasant surprise for ABC. The show just wrapped up its ninth season, and still has East Texans tunning in to watch their favorite celebrities dancing on the floor.
"[I like] just getting to know the celebrities a little bit," said Launa Stewart. "I feel like you really get to know their personality and who they are in real life."
And, that seems to be the connection viewers have with reality shows...reality. Still, some prefer sitcoms.
"I really like to learn something when I'm watching," said Belinda Foust.
But, Foust is an Ozzy Osbourne fan.
And, she admits, it was hard to resist tuning in once a week, to see what the Osbournes where going to do or say next.
"It was so real and it just showed me their...life to life challenges and the different things they went through," said Foust.
Shows like ABC's Grey's Anatomy are still going strong, however, hour-long dramas are slowly fading away.
Take NBC for instance. Jay Leno's show now airs during primetime. That is because the network saw a cheaper option in Leno, rather than forking out the money on a costly drama that could get canceled.
"It's real life," said Laura Fry. "Real life troubles and problems."
"I mean, everybody's always getting into fights and it's provocative," said Tina Anderson. "It's got a little bit of everything."
Who knows if the infatuation with reality shows will last.
"Some of them are just unreal," said Jeremy Johnston.
People are going to great lengths to land on a reality show. It is a fast track to stardom. The jury is still out on whether or not reality is the future. But, one thing is for sure. They are not leaving anytime soon.