Most employers frown upon drinking on the job for several reasons. Drinking impairs thinking, reduces inhibitions, and causes conflicts amongst adults who would otherwise have their wits about them. But apparently, in the world of television, things have changed. Drinking has almost become synonymous with reality TV and is becoming more prevalent on evening talk programs. Why the sudden surge of cocktail drinking? Perhaps it is the cavalier nature with which drinking is perceived in society. Or maybe this new phase is meant to actually encourage more viewers to tune in. Take a look at some of these nighttime examples, and draw your own conclusions.

Ray J and his ladies “Pop Champagne”

Some reality show bachelors give roses; others give chains or other trinkets. But when the ladies of Ray J escape elimination, they are given glasses champagne. A classy move, some might say. But it seems that the tradition of poppin’ the bubbly has carried on into the Reunion show. On Ray’s (tumultuous) 2nd season Reunion, he steps onto the stage nursing his own glass of champagne. Tanika Ray even makes a joke of him not failing to share his spirits with her. After a few moments, we’ve forgotten that he was even drinking. But the statement has already been made. Subconsciously, viewers will begin to associate alcoholic beverages with this kind of reality programming – a move that alcohol manufacturers are sure to condone.

Have a drink and “Watch What Happens”

Andy Cohen, the man behind the shows on the Bravo network brings us “Watch What Happens”, a talk show about reality/talk shows. This show is pretty heavy on the cocktails. For some reason, they always seem front and center, and have an odd way of making viewers thirsty. The show, which airs on Thursdays at midnight, covers the juiciest segments of primetime reality TV. Clearly, when one considers the dishy content on the show, the idea of downing a cocktail or two isn’t too far-fetched. But since when did mere gossip warrant hard liquor?

“Wanda and Wine”

Fox network has also gotten in on the cocktail craze, with Wanda Sykes introducing a bit of the bubbly into her late night shtick. “The Wanda Sykes Show”, which airs on Saturday nights, also has a format conducive to evening cocktails. Pandering to a liberal adult crowd, Wanda and her entourage engage viewers with tons of political jokes and some potty humor smothered in innuendo. Along with a diverse group of celebrities to outfit her panel, Wanda also introduces an equally diverse bunch of alcoholic beverages-with each guest enjoying his/her own favorite drink.

Drinking on TV isn’t a necessarily new concept. But the onslaught of reality TV programs makes it easier to digest all sorts of topics. Nothing is sacred these days. We don’t bat an eyelash when we watch the Real Housewives of (Fill in City Here) chugging Chardonnay during afternoon shopping sprees. And since people drink casually in the real world, it almost seems natural that drinking would become a visible part of the nighttime talk circuit. (After all, do we really know what’s been in Leno and Letterman’s coffee cups all these years?) Seeing a group of television personalities sipping gin and tonic seems like the next step in “keeping it real”.