Marketing surveys now show that when Americans come home from work, more folks turn on their computers than their television sets. That is a first.
The reason is twofold: First, you can create your own world on your PC, and second, TV is awful. Flat-out awful. For years, television has been losing viewers because the product, generally speaking, has collapsed.
Reality TV has destroyed the tube. Cheap, mindless shows featuring people who should be deported rule the airwaves. Don’t believe me? Well, TV Guide recently listed reality TV’s most startling moments. The choices are indeed startling.
Among them is Marie Osmond fainting on “Dancing with the Stars.” That was unforgettable, was it not? All 10 of her siblings attempted to resuscitate her.
Laurie has a breast-baring meltdown on a program called “She’s Got the Look.” I don’t know who Laurie is, but I believe she may be overexposed. Or something
Rebecca gets dentures on “Breaking Amish.” I am not fabricating this. I didn’t even know that the Amish broke anything. Hopefully, Rebecca can clean the dentures without electricity. At least she’s in better shape than Laurie.
An Elvis impersonator is overwhelmed by memorabilia on the show “Hoarders.” I missed that. I’m sorry.
Tom DeLay dances to “Wild Thing” on “Dancing with the Stars.” That was why Marie Osmond fainted.
“The Osbournes” examining the aftermath of Ozzy’s ATV accident. Does it get any better than that? Does it?
Kim Kardashian weds Kris Humphries on “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding.” This was the nadir. An untalented but ambitious woman marrying a young basketball player and then divorcing him about 20 minutes later. And the guy got hurt. So why are people watching that? Disturbing question.
Monica Lewinsky hosts “Mr. Personality.” This was an actual TV show. Insert your joke here.
On a show called “The Surreal Life,” the guy who played Mini Me in an Austin Powers movie rides a scooter naked. Why didn’t Kim Kardashian think of that?
The “Queer Eye” guys go nude. Did they have scooters, as well? I honestly don’t know.
Michelle Obama appears on “The Biggest Loser.” This is a weight loss program, not the Republican Convention.
And finally, chef Gordon Ramsay “fat-shames” a “Hell’s Kitchen” contestant. All I can say is that Jackie Gleason would have taken Ramsay out.
So it is beyond dispute that television is in deep trouble. These reality shows make “Gilligan’s Island” look like “Macbeth.” They are like unspeakable zombies destroying the entire structure of the television industry.
Thank God PBS is still on the air. But even here there is some worry. Elmo has been seen hanging with the Kardashians. It’s just a matter of time until someone gets engaged.
• Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of many books, including the newly released “Killing Jesus.”