Sam Caplan notes how this season of TUF has changed up the priorities of programming content in response to fan criticism and flagging ratings:
A big concern is the fact that in response to the criticisms of hardcore fans, the show has focused less on drama inside the TUF mansion and focused more on the actual fights. Despite the fact that the past two episodes of TUF have featured a total of four fights, the ratings have yet to respond.
I always thought this was what the show needed, too. My belief was that nothing had more drama than the fight, so why bother watching bored young men get drunk? It turns out that if the problems American Idol is facing are any indication, drama is exactly what the show needs:
This season of “American Idol” had talented singers, a doe-eyed teenage contestant for the prepubescent crowd, visits from pop royalty, stinging comments from Simon Cowell and jaw-droppers from Paula Abdul.
So why have some fans and observers found it a dull slog as the show builds to its David Archuleta vs. David Cook finale next Wednesday?
Because contestants who were good but not memorable made for mediocre television, watchers say. Where was the drama, the unpredictability, the oddball personalities? In short, where was the fun?
Perhaps what TUF needs is drama, but not the type of drama the producers at Spike have been doling out. To some extent, I sympathize with the challenges of creating drama. The fact is fighters are dying to fight by the time it’s their turn to do so because the monotony of training is hard to deal with. Their lives in the run-up to a fight are predictable and grueling, which is only interesting in the initial glimpse. Anything beyond stage one coverage becomes mundane. What’s the answer, then? I’m not sure. Perhaps bringing back the challenges or opening the house to let the fighters roam Vegas could do the trick, but neither of those options come without risk and challenges. The fact is while it’s very clear the show needs changes, the avenues for change aren’t easy to navigate.
About the author