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PBS Station Crafts Fake Reality Shows to Make Point

A New York PBS affiliate is airing promos for fake reality shows to remind people of the value of its own programming. But the promos may be a little too convincing.

There are so many reality shows these days that when an odd idea pops up for a new show, it’s not nearly as much of a surprise.

After all, when we elevate cast members of programs like Jersey Shore to “celebrity” status, one has to wonder exactly how low the bar has dropped over the past few decades. (I remember growing up with shows like The Hollywood Squares when “stars” actually were big names…but that’s another story.)

Attempting to capitalize on the belief that there’s too much crap on the dial, New York City’s PBS station Thirteen crafted promos for three new reality shows.

The alleged new shows, Clam Kings, Long Island Landscapers and Meet the Tanners, are certainly a dubious lot. But since that aforementioned bar has been lowered so far down based on what the majority of television viewers seem willing and eager to accept, the spots appear to be quite convincing…until you get nailed with the ending of each one.

Here’s a look at the three spots:

Crab Kings

They’re not “shucking around”.

Long Island Landscapers

They’re going “over the hedge”.

The Tanners

Anyone who sasses mom goes to the shade.

The promos are actually a follow-up to a similar campaign that used posters to make the point about “quality programming”. Though tongue in cheek when it comes to promoting the PBS station, they certainly are entertaining in their own way.

I hate to admit it, but just out of curiosity, I might have paused on Clam Kings for a moment, if I’d happened to be flipping through the channels and landed on the non-existent “Wonder Network” at the right (or wrong) time.

Your Turn:

How often do you watch shows on PBS? Do you consider it to deliver “quality programming” more so than other networks? (And would you have been curious enough about any of these shows — if you didn’t know they were fake — just to sample?


  1. Too funny. About a third of my TV viewing is PBS. With only OTA programming available, choice is very limited and quality a rare concept.

  2. Hysterical!  They all totally seem like they could be real shows – how sad is that!  I used to love PBS when my kids were little.  It was our go-to for TV time that actually taught them something when they watched.

  3. I do watch PBS, and I suppose that makes me that “boring” person to some folks but they do have a lot of fascinating shows.
    I think these ads are hilarious, by the way!  They might have fooled me!

  4. patricksplace Those are too funny. Some reality shows are great (Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters) but many are total junk. #TVGoneWrong

    1. HollyChessman I might’ve watched Long Island Landscapers just to see the homeowner’s reaction to the pink flamengo! 🙂

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.