Loyal “Intervention” fans are hoping that A&E hasn’t forsaken the series for the spin-off, “Relapse.” “Intervention” is still clinging to the bottom of the top ten cable series’ on Monday nights , but the shock and awe once felt by fans is waning. Psychologists would likely say that perhaps the audience has become “desensitized.” Maybe. However, take into account that the series has held the same format for seven long years. With producers GRB pumping-up the network with another potential hit in “Relapse,” the theory of desensitization has now become as likely as the series’ stagnant style to give it a plunge in the ratings.
“Intervention” has produced nearly 200 interventions in seven years, highlighting unreceptive substance abusers given an opportunity to achieve recovery. Despite a minor change a few years ago in how the substance abusers initially introduce themselves to the viewer (they no longer spell their first names) and a few new interventionist faces, the series is running dry for many longtime fans. How can this be? It’s drug addiction; human beings at the mercy of mind-altering substances; the mind and body racing for what they have come to recognize as life-sustaining – the ultimate battle between a willing spirit and a weak flesh!
Your layout is reliable. It continues to prove an effective ratings grabber. Addicts introduce themselves, you shock the viewer with a glimpse into their daily drug use routine, tug at their hearts with a review of the addict’s life as narrated by friends and family, show us the current relationship between the user and those same friends and family members and then hit us with the intervention. At this point, one can assume that most of the addicts highlighted in the new episodes are merely pretending that they don’t know an intervention is imminent. It’s likely a free ride to a rehab facility for most of them. Your viewer recognizes this so, in return, you’ve got to reward their loyalty with a few fresh ideas for the reality series.
Here are some suggestions: Never before seen footage is always a winner. You can add a few years onto the life of the show with these, alone. We know you’ve got it, so use it. Next, not everyone’s got a tale of rags to rags or riches to riches. You don’t have to omit a retelling of the person’s life, but minimize it. This will leave more room to highlight the addict’s behavior and the havoc that it wreaks on friends and family – the show’s bread and butter. Also, if you’re going to do a “where are they now” episode, don’t rip off your audience by watering the hour down with forty minutes of recaps. Give us enough to refresh our memories and then get to the new footage. The new footage doesn’t have to be great, just new. Finally, relinquish some of the work done by manned cameras to hidden cameras. Even addicts have some degree of pride and don’t want to expose their full-blown addiction. Get the permission of the friends and families of the addict to plant the cameras in their homes in the weeks prior to the crew’s arrival. You’ve got to be able to pull five or ten minutes out of three-hundred hours.