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Sweep Trick

What's on tap for May? More reality TV, of course. After the Big Four networks had successful ratings for unscripted shows in February, they plan to continue the trend

Andrew Firestone, The Bachelor | EXTRA MILEAGE A new ''Bachelor,'' featuring tire heir Firestone, will stretch into May
Image credit: The Bachelor: Bob D'Amico
EXTRA MILEAGE A new ''Bachelor,'' featuring tire heir Firestone, will stretch into May

If you think there is far too much reality fare on TV, then you might want to avoid the boob tube this May: The Big Four networks plan to air at least as much reality as they did in February. Fox (no surprise) was the most aggressive, devoting 41 percent of its schedule to realities like ''Joe Millionaire'' and ''American Idol.'' But it also won the sweeps month for the first time among young adults, so expect more unscripted specials -- plus the finale of ''Idol'' -- to air on the network in May.

ABC, which devoted 33 percent of its February slate to reality TV, will stretch ''All-American Girl'' into May along with ''The Bachelor'' and ''Extreme Makeover.'' CBS and NBC both set aside 14 percent of their schedules to unscripted endeavors in February, and in May the Eye will have ''Survivor: The Amazon'' and ''Star Search,'' while new episodes of ''Fear Factor'' and more programs to be announced will run on the Peacock. Says one Big Four scheduling exec, ''I don't know why anybody would change courses with their reality lineup, coming off what they considered a successful February.''

Originally posted Mar 24, 2003