He is known as straight-talking Ashes To Ashes cop Gene Hunt, but actor Philip Glenister blasted reality shows like The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent as "cruel" and "bullying".
Glenister, who is soon returning to BBC screens as the politically incorrect anti-hero, complained about the prevalence of "cheap" reality and chat shows.
He said in a Radio Times interview: "It's getting harder to find programmes to watch. I notice especially for my generation, with children, who don't go out a lot any more and want to watch a good drama and be taken on a journey.
"One problem is money. We have so many reality and chat shows because they're cheap."
The 47-year-old continued: "What I loathe about The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent is this idea they're going to make someone a star.
"It's just the Simon Cowell show. He runs the gig."
Glenister said he felt the audition process was "cruel, watching self-delusional people in front of three supposed experts who are smirking.
"It's bullying disguised as entertainment ... Once they get to the talent in the studio it's okay."
British prime minister Gordon Brown recently made an emotional appearance on Piers Morgan's TV chat show, seen as the most personal interview he has ever given.
Glenister, who did not mention any talk show in particular, said: "Also, I don't want to see my politicians on chat shows telling us how 'real' they are.
"Their personal tragedies should remain private. They're supposed to sort out the mess we're in."