Digital TV guru Shelly Palmer has an interesting post about "fake" reality TV, which has some great analysis of our perceptions of TV.
He takes some (well-deserved) shots at "Man vs. Wild" which irked me as being a sham when my roommate started TiVo-ing this show like crazy about a week ago. The "alone in the wilderness with just his wits" idea is an interesting premise to be sure. The show lost me when he floated through rapids on a homemade raft, with one camera pointed at him on the raft for his big close ups, and shot from above with another- yet the raft camera clearly was not on the raft (and I don't even have HD). If they will stop his jurney to put a camera on the raft or take it off, how real could the show be.
From what I can tell, Survivorman is much more "real," with host Les Stroud filming his own exploits with camera gear he takes with him. He's probably not completely alone, but he's more alone than Bear. Or perhaps Survivorman is just less fake?