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Melanie Morris: Right, that's it, I've had enough of all this reality show madness

Help. I'm about to drown in a tidal wave of reality TV. It seems to be coming at us from all sides right at the moment. So much so, I'm getting hopelessly confused and keep expecting to see Bill Cullen in the Ballroom, Wagner in the Boardroom, Gillian McKeith on Fade Street and Ann Widdecombe doing a Bushtucker Trial.

I can't remember which Eastender should be where, I can't distinguish between an Emmerdale star in a leotard and a WAG in a bikini.

And the only way I can tell which girl band is Louis Walsh's Wonderland and which is Simon Cowell's Bel Amie is by the numbers in each group. That the Irish and UK Apprentice are running concurrently doesn't help. And really, the only way to distinguish the two is by the candidates' homes (our one has a garden), and the blatant product placement in the Irish show. But it gets even more confusing, because Irish guys present both versions of the You're Fired programme.

Aghhh ... . I think my head is about to explode. And then there's the cross-fertilisation of reality starts ... Former X Factor contestants in the jungle ... Big Brother winners in Celebrity Salon ... Jeepers, how can we keep up? It seems that in trying to stay within their newly trimmed budgets while keeping ratings up, television stations have stopped commissioning expensive dramas in order to cash in on the lowest common denominator. Why pay a fortune in acting talent, costumes and locations when all you need to do is pay a bunch of unknowns some sort of per diem expense and let them fight for a crappy job in what looks like a plywood 'boardroom'.

That our TV stations are awash with wannabes getting their magical 15 minutes of fame is bad enough, but that these shows are taking priority over 'proper' current affairs programmes is ridiculous.

If it weren't for the extraordinary political happenings of the weekend, we'd have been without Vincent Browne on TV3 again last night, to make room for the holy reality trinity of The Apprentice, I'm A Celebrity and You're Fired.

Equally, the fact that I found myself zapping between the two Brians' landmark press conference on Sunday night, and the X Factor eliminations left me full of self-loathing.


I wasn't the only one though, as the water cooler chat on Monday morning seemed to be less about dissecting the statements, and more about "do you think they timed it deliberately to clash with the X Factor results?"

Shame on us. Even if we do all think it'd be a great idea to get Simon Cowell to preside over our next parliament selection.

Please God the worst will be over us by Christmas ... and by that, I refer to the glut of reality TV shows. Celebrity Big Brother has been axed, so there's only Dancing On Ice to contend with.

And I vow not to get sucked in, regardless of how many 'Kerry Katona falls in training' shots they may leak on-line (Ooh, look! Hasn't she got thin ... ).

Instead I'll retreat to a world of box sets from a time when TV stations made proper programmes with real actors, like The Sopranos, West Wing and The Tudors ... the casts of which will no doubt be in Brucie's Ballroom next winter.