09/21/2011 05:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Do Television Ratings Reflect Who We Truly Are?

As we formulate this year's dynamic TEDxWomen program, slated to happen all over the world on December 1st, I'm thrilled to see the ways in which last year's conference is still spurring spirited conversation. One of the latest videos to go up on TED's site features TV executive Lauren Zalaznick, who is known for shaping reality television that gets explosive ratings -- especially among "affluencers" -- as one of her shows dubbed it. The New York Times describes her this way: "In recent years, Zalaznick has distinguished herself in the industry not only as a hard worker but also as a fresh thinker. Her role in the creation myth of Bravo by now passes as legend in the relatively young cable industry."

Whether you love or hate reality television, you can't deny that it's been a massive cultural force in the last few years.  In this TED talk, Zalaznick takes us even further back in TV time, sharing results of a bold study that tracks attitudes against TV ratings over five decades. She make the case -- to much controversy in the comments section! -- that television ratings are a clear indicator of who we are, whether we want to admit it or not. Take a look for yourself.


This post originally appeared at the Paley Center for Media's Pat Connects blog.