I'm not sure that my TV viewing tastes mirror that of the United States as a whole, as I haven't watched a reality show religiously since America's Next Top Model during the years directly following college. But I still know who all the reality TV stars are because of my pop culture consumption online.
I don't like competition-y shows on HGTV or Food Network and have never seen a full episode of American Idol or most of the copy cats, despite being fond of AI's two biggest stars Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. (I did watch an episode of America's Got Talent at my cousin's house recently, and it was OK but didn't become required viewing for me.)
I do my part in keeping bad dramas and sitcoms on the air though. I was a loyal viewer of Saving Grace, mostly because of its setting -- Oklahoma City -- but was completely wounded by its series ending and wished I'd never watched an episode. I still find myself thinking about Olivia from Fringe and worrying about how they're going to get her back from the alternate universe! I love cop, hospital and legal dramas, hokey family and workplace sitcoms, and basically everything that Shawn hates about TV.
Lately I've become enamored with a different type of reality TV. House Hunters is my go-to show. I love and hate it. Love the properties and seeing different price points around the country (and world, in the case of International). Hate the b*tchy, gripe-y home buyers ... nothing is ever good enough and heaven forbid they have vinyl floors or laminate counters. I also get a big laugh when 2,000 square feet is "tiny and unlivable."
Last night a Baton Rouge-area episode came on. E-GADS.
In looking for the link to that episode I inadvertently peeled back the veneer and found out what is sort of obvious w/ the show -- it's all staged. They find home buyers who are already under contract and then film "back in time" two houses they didn't choose. I can't imagine this is always true for the international version, BUT who knows. I'm just a gullible American television consumer.