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Opinion: Let's make this Fall TV slate a 'reality'

<em>The Real Housewives of New York</em> was a hit. So ... why not Real Houseplants of Scottsdale?
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The Real Housewives of New York was a hit. So ... why not Real Houseplants of Scottsdale?

This fall television season begins with a snag. Actors and writer's unions are on strike. Scripted movies and series, comedies and dramas, can't be produced without writers and actors. So more so-called "reality" shows are being scheduled for air, alongside Real Housewives of Fill-in-the-Blank, Dancing with the Stars, and live sports. We wonder if it might lead to nightly lineups like this:

Sunday: Real House Pets of Des Moines. Home security cameras reveal all the furry secrets. Will Sir Fluffins the cat scratch the arm of the living room sofa when he thinks no one is looking? Will Clarice, the Chow Chow, stop shedding on a dining room chair? And which pet left a little present on the living room rug? Everyone suspects Scooter, the cocker spaniel — but nobody looks at Waffles, the golden retriever! Soon, all is revealed!

Monday: What's My Password? Guests try to remember their own passwords to streaming services, social media, food delivery, and medical accounts. Is it the name of my daughter's stuffed bunny, plus the last year the Cardinals won the World Series? Is it my birthday, plus "jonsnow", no "h" in Jon, all lower case, with an exclamation point? Sorry! Passwords don't match! One more guess before your laptop blows!

Tuesday: The U.S. Marine Corps produces a new real life-drama: Have You Seen Our F-35? A pilot safely ejects over South Carolina. But a fighter jet goes missing! Text if you see it! And why didn't that $80 million cost for the jet include a $29 AirTag?

Wednesday: Real House Plants of Scottsdale. Will Haley remember to rotate her Fiddle-Leaf Fig — or just let it wither? Can an African Violet take bloom in Maricopa County, Arizona? Will Chaz overwater his Anthurium Coral? Real leaf drama!

Thursday: Can You Pass a Spending Bill? Elected public officials in the U.S. Congress drive the country to a fiscal cliff every few months! Will they do it again? Or can they make a deal in time for soldiers, park rangers and food safety inspectors to get paid? Tune in!

Friday: Dancing with Actuaries! The men and women who can run the numbers bust their best moves! IT'S TANGO WEEK!

And: after adding more Monday Night Football games during the strike, broadcasters bring you Saturday Night Buzkashi! Faded stars on horseback try to score goals by tossing the carcass of a goat. You think ice hockey is tough? Try buzkashi!

Coming soon, get ready for the mid-season replacement — Bachelor Orthodontists: Making Teeth AND HEARTS Align.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.