Anything that makes a splash like the "Reality TV" boom is bound to bring out the skeptics. What's most interesting about this hot genre in programming is that the skeptics are both the buyer and the seller. The viewing audience and the Networks both ask the fearful question, "How long can this last?"
The irony is that both continue to tune in, as well as produce and promote new shows. The creators and producers of these shows are people that think "outside the box" to begin with, and many have been vocal in explaining that the format of reality programming only broadens the possibilities of various forms of hybrid shows. It's the same thing we've witnessed with scripted shows over the past decade- Rules are broken and new forms are accepted.
There has always been an appetite for event-type programming. And when real people are involved, viewers will watch with the same addictive appetite as those who are hooked on soap operas. What's more powerful in reality-based programming is that even though the situations are set up and manipulated to guarantee a result for content, we are watching people with real emotions in circumstances that create real drama. As long as we continue to be fascinated with the human condition, and have an appetite for entertainment, there will always be some evolving format of a reality show.