Inside Move: Reality heat wave

Nets go unscripted for summer sizzle

Webheads will find out this week whether reality is better than repeats.

Spurred by the summer success in recent years of “American Idol” and “Survivor,” the Big Six will be rolling out more original warm-weather programming than ever over the next three months. And save for a few high-profile new dramas from Fox, almost all of the firstrun fare will be unscripted.

This week alone, NBC will bow dating game “For Love or Money” and the second season of “Crime & Punishment.” Fox jumps in with “American Juniors” and scripted actioner “Keen Eddie.” Both nets will roll out even more shows later this month, with a second wave expected in late July.

CBS bowed “The Amazing Race 4” last week, but the Eye is saving its biggest guns — “Big Brother 4” and the Simon Cowell-produced “Cupid” — for next month. ABC, which splurged on unscripted fare this spring, will stick to a diet of mostly repeats this summer.

Some observers fret that the nets are throwing out too much reality this summer. But the early word from Nielsen is that the reality glut might not be the disaster predicted by some skeptics.

Peacock’s reality version of “Fame” kicked off last week with strong numbers, while “Dog Eat Dog” was solid in its second season premiere.

NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker says the summer reality push is a natural, given the declining performance of repeats and tougher competish from cable.

“I think that everybody is moving toward a 52-week season,” he says.

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