Dueling TV shows: Which you should watch -- Trying to decide between ''The Bachelorette'' and ''The O.C.''? Here's our advice

By Jennifer Armstrong
Updated January 23, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

High concepts, low costs, and short runs make reality TV a perfect foil for ratings juggernauts like CSI and Raymond. Not so perfect? The almost daily Survivor vs. Friends-type matchups. ”If you put on good shows, even against each other, people will watch,” says NBC Entertainment prez Jeff Zucker. Let’s do the channel hop.

AMERICAN IDOL (FOX) VS. THE APPRENTICE (NBC) It’s Idol’s half-hour results show, so watch the Donald berate his proteges, then log on to Fox’s website to see which singers were axed.

AVERAGE JOE: HAWAII (NBC) VS. CSI: MIAMI (CBS) The bloom is fading (a la Joe Millionaire) on the hot-girl/dorky-guys ruse. So get your Joe while it’s still hotand catch the original CSI on Thursday.

MY BIG FAT OBNOXIOUS FIANCE (FOX) VS. EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS) Satisfy your curiosity for an Obnoxious episode or two, then return to your regularly scheduled programming.

THE BACHELORETTE (ABC) VS. THE O.C. (FOX) Both offer up sexy people, beautiful mansions, and romantic tension. Better upgrade your TiVo.