The Hollywood Reporter Unveils 2013 Reality Heat List
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
With an array of networks providing spooky programming targeting both cynics and believers, it's a great time to be a ghost -- or communicate with one. Among the top-performing supernatural series is TLC's Long Island Medium, which averaged 2.9 million viewers last season. "I think it gives hope to people," says star Theresa Caputo, "knowing that there is more to life than just the physical world." Travel Channel also is cashing in on the dead: Programs including The Dead Files, Ghost Adventures and Most Terrifying Places in America bank on viewers' desire to experience a brush with the other realm -- or to hate-watch for new material to feed their skepticism.
"[Supernatural shows] do very well for us," says Travel Channel president Laureen Ong. "There are a lot of people who will travel to find places that are known to be haunted -- that audience, they are very engaged." But it's Syfy, naturally, that has the otherworldly market cornered. The network's top performer, Ghost Hunters, averaged 2.1 million viewers in its eighth season, and it has eight other supernatural shows currently on the air (all averaging 1 million to 2 million viewers) plus two more on the way: Deep South Paranormal debuts April 10, and Notorious Hauntings comes later this year. Can unscripted zombies be lurching far behind?