TF1 devotes less money to reality TV

Full lineup of genre to bow in next two months

PARIS — Gallic private web TF1 will invest less than 30 million euros ($35.3 million) in reality programming in 2003, compared with $235 million for fiction and $117 million for news, causing speculation that the craze for the genre is dying out

TF1’s latest reality offering “Nice People” has been consistently beaten in the Saturday night ratings by webs France 2 and France 3. However, TF1 veep Etienne Mougeotte described the show as a “huge success publicity wise for TF1. It will have contributed by the end of the first semester 2003 to a rise in sales of between 2%-3% from that of 2002,” he said.

The web still plans a full roster of the genre. Over the next two months, TF1 will launch “Survivor”-inspired “Koh Lanta Adventurers 3,” “The Isle of Temptation 2” and “Greg Millionaire,” which will air against rival M6’s “Bachelor.”

TF1 declined to comment on how much it invested in reality programming last year. But in 2001 it signed a $352 million first-look deal with “Big Brother” creator Endemol to provide TF1 with a new show every year for a rumored five years.