The New York Times has a story about declining audiences for reality shows. You can find it here. Lots of theories to be found there, but I think there's a simple explanation. The key shows being discussed just aren't that good right now.
I've both heard and made some complaints about ''Survivor'' and ''Amazing Race,'' which you can find in some previous posts. Stephanie Warsmith, a co-worker and faithful ''Apprentice'' viewer, has been disappointed in that show, to the point of barely watching the current round.
That suggests that viewers are unhappy with a specific show or an individual concept, not an entire genre.
Because of changes in cast, locations and competitions, reality shows can vary greatly in quality from one series to the next. ''Survivor'' certainly has. So a show that's in a bad round could get audience back for the next series if it improves enough to get the loyal fans talking to the fair-weather ones. And I'd like to think that ''Amazing Race's'' ''family edition'' will be seen as an aberration, with the show back to its better ways once it returns to a competition among two-person teams.