In Jeanne Heatons essay Tuning in Trouble: Talk TVs Destructive Impact on Mental Health, she says that TV talk shows, which once had some potential as a forum for public debate, have degenerated into nothing but sensationalized entertainment. I somewhat agree with her take on this. I think that once more of these TV talk shows started popping up, the producers needed to make their shows more sensationalized in order to keep viewers. It may not say much about the people watching these shows, but most would probably watch a story about some guy sleeping with his sister than watch a talk show where the guests debate on some important issue.
I believe that most of the talk shows nowadays are staged anyway. Theres no possible way that the Jerry Springer Show can search the trailer parks of America and find that many messed up people. Theyre all actors and their job is to entertain, not to make a serious impact on a major issue. The people on these shows are more or less meant to make you feel better about yourself. When you look at yourself, then you see the people on Jerry Springer, you cant help but feel that you arent half bad.
The bottom line is that these shows are no longer in it for societys problems. With so much head-to-head competition between TV talk shows, it seems as if theyve had no other choice than to make their topics more and more trashy to keep up with the other shows. The producers are out to make money, and they realize that the current trend is for trashy daytime television. Maybe someday that trend will reverse, but I wouldnt bet on it.