People like reality; I think it's always happened from the Roman times, when people used to go to a coliseum and watch people compete against each other. I think networks and cable channels find it an easier way of producing and putting things together, because people will watch it and it's cheaper.
If you ask me, the place that a story happens is as equal character. It's almost like an ecological viewpoint: These people are living in this piece of land, and in this piece of land in this time this is possible. For me, I almost think location first. It's time first - what year is it - then where are we, and then who is in it.