I'm noticing that the participants in some reality TV programmes are becoming more and more bitchy. Last night I watched an episode from the latest The Amazing Race (http://www.cbs.com/primetime/amazing_race6/) and went nuts listening to the whining. These participants seem much more on edge and willing to fight with each other than previous series.

The same thing happened with the second series of The Apprentice (http://www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Apprentice_2/). I was so turned off by the petty bitchiness between contestants that I couldn't watch more than two episodes.

Maybe this type of dramatic content works for the ratings but it doesn't work for me. There's only so many times I can listen to phrases like "She's such a loser" in one sitting.

I do think these shows need to be careful not to fall into the trap of cliched ratings-grabbers. Selecting participants who are going to create conflict is an easy option to add drama to a show, but it's too easy. Good shows could lose their point-of-difference if they climb on the "dramatic conflict" bandwagon at the expense of the things which originally made them stand apart.

If I just want to watch conflict, I can tune into Jerry Springer any day (unfortunately).