Tila Success Inspires More Trash TV

Continuing its slide into becoming the “raunch for teens and 20-somethings” channel, MTV will be serving up yet more voyeuristic sex in 2008.

The network announced this week that bisexual celebrity Tila Tequila will return with a second “Shot at Love.”  The network was so pleased that 6 million people tuned in to see things like lesbian kisses, contestants wrestling in chocolate pudding and eating bull penises that they want to give the MySpace trollop another shot at finding love with either a male or female.  Seems her first selection of a guy as her “love interest” didn't pan out.  What a surprise.

This decision comes after MTV announced in December a Tila-inspired spinoff, entitled That's Amore.  The show will be centered on a Tila-castoff by the name of Domenico Nesci, an Italian who will be looking for “an American sweetheart.” Nesci is apparently not bisexual and will be looking only for female “sweethearts.” 

The quick creation of That's Amore is part of a new strategy at MTV, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade publication reports that “Amore falls in line with MTV's strategy of fast-tracking production and building on hit series with spinoffs.”  A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila was one of MTV's top rated programs with its target demographic audience of 12-34 year olds.

Yes, 12 to 34 year olds.  According to Nielsen Media Research, 5 million people in this age range tuned in for the Tila finale. 

And it is most likely the “success” of this show that is driving other programming decisions about reality shows based on sexuality.

The Daily Mail of London reports that Cher and her lesbian daughter Chastity are shopping a new reality show to television networks.  The premise?  Coming Out with Cher and Chas, in which the celebrity mom and daughter would help homosexuals “come out” to their parents on television.  Remember, Cher had her daughter in therapy to try to overcome her lesbianism when she first learned of it. Now she's openly promoting homosexuality.

Will MTV buy the Cher and Chas show?  It would fit with the network's penchant for sexuality-themed reality shows.  MTV owns the Logo channel, which is geared specifically to the “gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender” audience.  In November, Logo announced that it would be airing a reality dating show with a transgender woman in the lead (a biological male who identifies as a woman).

Transamerican Love Story will premiere in February and is centered on transgender activist and actress Calpernia Addams.  Reportedly, the show will follow Addams as he/she whittles down a group of eight bachelors living together in an L.A.-area home.  The bachelors will know he/she is trangendered. 

MTV's influence on American youth cannot be understated.  MTV is the most recognized network among young viewers ages 12-34, according to Nielsen Media Research.  It is watched more than 6 hours a week on average by 73% of boys and 78% of girls ages 12 to 19, according to a study by the Parents Television Council.  And because it is on cable, it is not regulated by broadcast decency laws.

Kristen Fyfe is the senior writer for the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.